On Friday, October 24th the Santa Cruz County Business Council (SCCBC), in direct partnership with Cabrillo College, conducted a roundtable discussion with a number of local business leaders, Cabrillo faculty and staff, and Cabrillo students about the state of workforce preparedness. The discussion was both frank and constructive in describing the multitude of experiences and perspectives about what has been working well, while outlining a clear path forward about what can be done better.
Two guiding themes emerged from the meeting:
- Cooperation needs to enhanced amongst the community partners while avoiding redundant efforts
- Recognition that the changes in the modern workplace warrant a re-evaluation of the methods being used to prepare the employees of the future. However, the importance of maintaining key technical tracks for such professions as heavy machinery operation, still need to preserved, and if anything, emphasized to greater extent than they currently are among the younger generation.
Additionally, many of the local business leaders expressed concern about the lack professional preparedness in many of their incoming employees and interns, specifically in terms of “soft skills” like effective written and oral communication skills.
When discussing potential next steps, event attendees expressed the need for a centralized effort to coordinate with each of the local education institutions and business stakeholders. SCCBC and Cabrillo agreed to lead in the development of an internship clearinghouse website, as well as consider a broader workforce needs assessment focusing on technical preparedness. Following the event SCCBC staff will be reaching out to additional stakeholders, and preparing a plan for web site development.
Lunch for the event was graciously sponsored by PG&E.