On June 5, 2018, the Bold Goals Coalition of Central Alabama’s Workforce Action Network unveiled a report and public engagement campaign entitled, “Building (it) Together: A Framework for Aligning Education and Jobs in Greater Birmingham.” Through both the report and campaign, the Network will share and explore economic data about the Greater Birmingham region generated by Burning Glass Technologies and the Council for Adult and Experiential Learning (CAEL).
Stakeholders across the region will be invited to participate in public presentations on the data, and will be included in a region-wide strategic planning process focused on aligning economic development and workforce development with industry needs. Regional stakeholders also will be encouraged to utilize the data through their respective businesses, organizations and institutions.
Greater Birmingham is only the second region to commission such a report from Burning Glass Technologies. With this powerful information in hand, the region is ready to make powerful decisions about its economic future. Let’s start building (it) together.
Key report findings include:
- Employment in the Greater Birmingham region is projected to grow 8.9% over the next 10 years.
- Specific career fields that will experience supply gaps over the next 10 years include information technology (IT) and business and financial operations.
- The region experiences significant departures of skilled workforce talent – 43% of local college students and 53% of local doctoral students leave the region after graduation.
- Institutions of higher education are graduating students who can drive an innovation evolution with the region’s economy.
- Greater Birmingham is resilient, but falling behind other southeastern cities:
- The region has experienced a GDP growth rate of 8% since 2010. By comparison, surrounding metros reported double-digit growth.
- The region has experienced an employment growth rate of 6% since 2010. By comparison, surrounding metros reported growth more than double Birmingham’s rates.
- The region is lacking skilled and relevant workforce talent, and education and industry are misaligned. 78.5% of the region’s workforce is operating in low or middle skill positions. Future jobs will increasingly require relevant BA and Sub-BA degrees.
Key recommendations include:
- Support existing industry and leverage a cluster-based approach to identify emerging companies and jobs, mainly in advanced manufacturing, life sciences and biotech, and IT.
- Focus on growth in non-local, exporting industries to encourage new wealth circulation in Birmingham.
- Invest in training related to targeted industries.
- Expand co-op and alternate training opportunities.
- Organize around recruitment of executive talent and support the risk taking necessary to change the local economy.
- Encourage employers to reconsider credential requirements.
- Strive for increased equity through nontraditional means, like IT boot camps.
- Continue to increase high school graduation rates and the number of college- and career-ready high school graduates and promote post-secondary educational attainment.
If you would like to host a community presentation on building (it) together, please email Sharde Oliver at firstname.lastname@example.org.
 Lead partners include Alabama Possible, Birmingham Business Alliance (BBA)*, Central Six AlabamaWorks!*, Community Foundation of Greater Birmingham*, Innovate Birmingham, Jefferson State Community College, United Way of Central Alabama* and UAB*. (* Report funder)
 The Greater Birmingham seven-county region includes Bibb County, Blount County, Chilton County, Jefferson County, Shelby County, St. Clair County and Walker County