Thursday, March 15, 2012

Using GIS to Map out Iowa's Skilled Workforce - Part II

This is part two of a two part overview highlighting how GIS helps the Department of Iowa Workforce Development present the skills of Iowa communities to economic development opportunities.

Developed by the Institute for Decision Making at the University of Northern Iowa, laborshed studies performed by the Department of Iowa Workforce Development (IWD) summarize community workforce information about wages, education, employment status, benefits and other categories in order to paint an accurate picture of the respective area’s workforce. “The Laborshed study is a very unique economic development tool, the only one of its kind that we know of,” says Ryan Murphy of IWD.
These studies are used by different groups in different spheres of activity. Economic development organizations and utility companies provide this spatial information to prospective and existing businesses, training organizations and community colleges are interested in education and training questions that are asked in the survey regarding training needs and barriers to training, and grant writers find that it is the only place to find certain information when completing grant applications.

By including the surveyed information like wages according to industry, education level, and willingness to travel into a GIS layer, businesses can more accurately plan on issues like labor supply and the cost of doing business in specific locations.

The Laborshed Study is unique to Iowa and deserves recognition as a useful tool for economic development in Iowa. For more information visit the IWD site by clicking here or access a recent laborshed publication by clicking here.

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