Sara Medina, Manager, Education & Workforce
During a December 2021 meeting, the IT and Health Care Sector Convening Partnership — a joint effort by the Dallas Regional Chamber (DRC), Dallas College, and Workforce Solutions of Greater Dallas and sponsored by Amazon, Bank of America, and United Way — brought together regional leaders and industry experts to discuss strategic ways to create talent pipelines for the most in-demand sectors of the labor market — information technology and health care.
The event featured Laurie Larrea, President of Workforce Solutions of Greater Dallas, who moderated a panel with Merridth Simpson, Director of Human Resources at Methodist Health Systems, and Jon Gustafson, Human Resources Economic Development Lead at Lockheed Martin.
Gustafson presented strategies that helped Lockheed Martin become an aerospace champion. They included leadership commitment between community partners and state government, an aligned skills standard to streamline the hiring process in the aerospace industry, and the formulation of three committees, focused on engagement and outreach, skills, and leadership, to better support incoming talent.
When asked about the state of the health care industry during the COVID-19 pandemic, Simpson said: “It’s a multifaceted issue. In all my years working in health care, I have never seen what the industry is experiencing right now.”
Health care, like many other industries, is focused on retention, hiring quality talent, and creating an inclusive, supportive culture for every employee. Because of surging demand, hospitals have been forced to obtain talent outside their region during the pandemic.
“The war for talent is very real, and what we thought was important to employees might not be anymore,” Simpson said. “As head of human resources, I look at two sets of numbers: who did we lose, who did we gain, and why?”
Key labor market insights were gathered from participant employers during this event. Among employers, nearly two thirds of information technology and healthcare employers indicated retention of staff as the top talent supply challenge. Additionally, the majority of employers indicated that lack of employability skills and access to diverse and properly credentialed talent as key pain points in their talent recruitment.
As a part of the industry partnership event and in support of the IT and health care industries, the DRC unveiled a marketing campaign to raise awareness and grow interest in high-demand occupations within both sectors which will target middle school, high school and college students along with recent graduates.
The marketing campaign will launch under the Say Yes to Dallas brand, DRC’s initiative to attract top talent for in-demand positions in the Dallas Region. The campaign is a central strategy of Dallas Thrives, a multi-year initiative by DRC and the Commit Partnership that aims to double the number of young adults in Dallas earning a living wage by 2040.