DRC launches new resource to address IT, health care workforce needs

By Dana Jennings, Senior Vice President, Communications, Marketing & Events

In recent years, Dallas-Fort Worth has experienced a rapid expansion in the information technology and health care industries. The growth shows no signs of slowing in the coming decade, and the DFW region needs a projected 130,000 more qualified workers to prevent unfilled jobs from hampering economic growth in the same timeframe.

The Dallas Regional Chamber, with support from Bloomberg Philanthropies, has launched a new tool to help the region’s key players in workforce development meet this need.

The new DFW Health Care and IT Talent Pipeline Portal provides expansive, up-to-date data on the supply of and demand for talent for middle-skill jobs.

“Tackling a challenge begins with a shared understanding of it,” said Jarrad Toussant, DRC Senior Vice President of Education and Workforce. “Employer and education partners across the region need meaningful labor market data to inform the instruction, advising, training, recruitment, and development of our regional talent base. The DRC is excited to offer this free-to-use resource to help coordinate efforts to ensure employers have the talent they need while increasing living wage attainment for people living and working in the Dallas Region.”

Middle-skill jobs are careers that require technical education and training beyond the high school level without a need for a four-year college degree. These jobs are critical to Dallas’ economy, comprising more than half of all jobs, and Dallas’ fastest-growing industries need a ready workforce equipped to fill these roles. However, a staggering 53% of Dallas students either do not complete high school or do not enroll in post-secondary and thus do not meet the qualifications for these high-demand, high-wage jobs, resulting in nearly 300,000 unfilled jobs in our region.

The DFW Health Care and IT Talent Pipeline Portal provides stakeholders with the most up-to-date information on jobs and careers, skill gaps for specific roles, program completion by institution, job trends/forecasts, and much more. The custom portal is designed to help make data-driven strategy decisions for tackling regional talent needs for a broad range of users:

      • Workforce & Economic Developers
      • Counselors & Advisors
      • Policymakers
      • Recruiters/Employers
      • Education & Training Administrators
      • Employer Outreach & Engagement Specialists

In IT and health care in DFW, middle-skill jobs provide average salaries of $50,000-$95,000. By improving efforts to position workers and future workers to fill these roles, education and workforce institutions help increase the number of young adults set to earn a living wage, increasing economic mobility and decreasing the number of DFW adults living in poverty.

DFW has added 1.3 million jobs in the past decade, making it the leading U.S. region for job growth, and the region’s population is on pace to overtake Chicago as the No. 3 metro area within the next decade.

Despite this prosperity, Dallas County has the seventh-most number of residents living in poverty. Only between a quarter and a third of young adults are projected to make a living wage.

“We cannot import our way to a skilled talent pool,” Toussant said. “We must build skills for middle-skill IT and health care jobs within our local talent pipeline to support continued growth while building critical economic mobility for all of our citizens. We believe uniform access to data through the DFW Health Care and IT Talent Pipeline Portal moves us closer toward this goal.”

The DFW Health Care and IT Talent Pipeline Portal is an initiative of Dallas Thrives, which was launched by the DRC and the Commit Partnership in 2020 to double living wage attainment for young adults in Dallas by 2040.

Through its strategic focus on Education, Talent & Workforce, the DRC fosters collaboration between the local business community and educational institutions to meet regional industry needs.

If you are interested in learning more, visit the Dallas Thrives website or read the Dallas Thrives Update Report. Learn more about the DRC’s work in Education and Workforce on our website.