Local Economic and Employment Development (LEED)

1990-1097 (online)
1990-1100 (print)
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A series of reports from OECD’s Local Economic and Employment Development Programme (LEED). The LEED Programme identifies analyses and disseminates innovative ideas for local development, governance and the social economy. Governments from OECD member and non-member economies look to LEED and work through it to generate innovative guidance on policies to support employment creation and economic development through locally based initiatives. See also OECD Reviews of Local Job Creation under Related Reading.

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Designing Local Skills Strategies

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Edited By:Francesca Froy, Sylvain Giguère, Andrea-Rosalinde Hofer
16 Nov 2009
9789264066649 (PDF) ;9789264066625(print)

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Higher-level skills are increasingly demanded by the knowledge-based economy. But with rising mobility and demographic change, it is no longer so simple to invest in a skilled workforce for the future. Actions are needed on a variety of fronts, including attracting and retaining talent, better integrating disadvantaged groups into the labour force, and upgrading the skills of low-paid workers. Much of the responsibility for these actions falls squarely on the shoulders of local policy makers.

Drawing from a wide array of case studies, this book analyses best-practice local strategies for increasing workforce skills. And it also takes a close look at the opportunities and challenges presented by international migration. The in-depth case studies in this report range from Shanghai’s "Highland of Talent Strategy" to new "career ladders" which help immigrants escape low-skilled, low-paid employment in New York. National and local-level recommendations on local skills development are provided, for both OECD and non-OECD countries.

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  • Executive Summary
    In order to prosper in today’s economy, local communities increasingly need to ensure that they adequately invest in education and skills. Higher-level skills, such as the ability to analyse and process complex information, be creative and communicate effectively, are all increasing in importance in the context of the knowledge-based economy. In addition, the recent economic downturn has shown more than ever the value of investing in skills as a means of retaining employment in difficult times. It is more and more likely that future jobs will demand higher skills levels, as low-skilled jobs are lost and redefined in the current restructuring process.
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  • Expand / Collapse Hide / Show all Abstracts International Overview

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    • Local Strategies for Developing Workforce Skills
      In today’s knowledge-based economy, human resources and skills are crucial to long-term growth, prosperity and social inclusion at the local level. A review of practice in OECD countries shows that local stakeholders realise that it is no longer enough just to invest in the formal education and training system, and are turning towards a more diverse range of strategies to increase the supply of skills in their locality. This chapter reviews such strategies in many different parts of the world including Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, Malaysia, Sweden, the United Kingdom and the United States. The focus is in particular on actions to better attract and retain talent, integrate disadvantaged groups into the labour force, and upskill current workers. The chapter concludes by identifying the obstacles to a truly joined-up approach to skills at the local level, and ways to overcome these.
    • Addressing the Loss of Skills to International Migration
      In developing countries the loss of skills through emigration can have significant effects at the local level. It seems that better managing the migration process could be beneficial in promoting economic development and skills development in some regions. This chapter looks at emerging policies and local practice to better manage migration, and assesses the possible impacts that this can have on local development paths. The chapter draws on selected case studies and interviews in sending countries, including Ecuador, El Salvador, Ghana, Nigeria, Nicaragua, Mexico, Romania, and Sierra Leone as well as previous LEED work in Albania and Italy.
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  • Expand / Collapse Hide / Show all Abstracts Case Studies

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    • The Shanghai "Highland of Talent" Strategy
      Having invested heavily throughout the 1990s in physical infrastructure, the Shanghai Municipal Government (SMG) began a parallel investment in 2003 to strengthen human capital in the metropolis and move Shanghai towards becoming a global city. The SMG announced an integrated strategy of competitiveness building human capital development via four key themes: attracting Chinese overseas graduates, vocational training of on-the-job workers, training for local workers without jobs, and training of migrant workers. This strategy has had considerable success, largely through taking a balanced approach (attracting talent, upskilling the labour force and integrating the hard to reach) while also setting clear targets and achievable goals for local stakeholders.
    • Michigan Regional Skills Alliances
      The Michigan Regional Skills Alliance (MiRSA) Initiative, launched in 2004, offered thirteen local regions one-year start-up grants to develop local strategies to increase the skills and labour market success of individuals, and provide a collaborative approach through which local employers would benefit from a more skilled workforce. The state’s labor market information agency helped applicants by providing a cluster-type analysis of the local labour market and forecasts of employment trends and occupational needs. The implementation strategies varied by region and were based upon the identified needs of the targeted businesses as well as the collective thinking of the local partnership. This chapter reviews the success of the initiative, evaluating how it has impacted on working practices in the state.
    • The Choctaw Tribe of Mississippi
      The Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians (MBCI) provides a case study for the development of local workforce skill strategies to address high rates of unemployment, poverty, and the lack of employment opportunities in a rural area. The MBCI has approached skill development by using a method of self-reliance and selfdetermination as well as participating with other organisations for collaborative partnerships. The results have been remarkable, with poverty and unemployment rates dropping significantly since the early 1970’s from highs of 80% to a low of 2% in 2007. The focus for workforce development is on technology intensive manufacturing as well as the hospitality industry, aimed at upgrading the skills of workers, while also training those without skills. The emphasis is also on tribally-owned and managed enterprises to foster self-reliance.
    • Addressing Skills Shortfalls in Mackay, Australia
      The region of Mackay in Australia has experienced unprecedented growth and wealth creation since 2004, putting significant pressure on company development. In response, manufacturing companies in Mackay have formed an industry cluster named "Mackay Area Industry Network" (MAIN) with the purpose of addressing skills shortages quickly and effectively. The result was the MAIN CARE programme – a programme designed to recruit, select and manage apprentices in the workplace. The main success of the scheme has been improving retention rates within the apprenticeship programmes which previously had high drop-out rates. This chapter situates the approach within wider skills strategies in Queensland, and assesses whether an employer-led approach can fully integrate hard-to-reach groups into the workforce development system.
    • From Crane to Torso: Local Skill Strategies in the City of Malmö
      The City of Malmö has drawn on the skills of the city’s substantial immigrant population in its recent transformation into a centre for service, trade and finance related industries. In addition to attracting significant numbers of new residents through investment in infrastructure and a new university, the city has developed a range of initiatives to improve the labour market integration of immigrants, including a new "portfolio approach" to recording an immigrant’s skills. The city’s "Vision 2015" strategy benefits from a high level of direct involvement and co-operation between local education officials, labour exchange offices and employers. The chapter analyses whether the city has succeeded in developing a balanced approach to improving its skills-base and identifies remaining gaps to be addressed.
    • New York City Career Pathways
      Immigrants in New York City (NYC) are integral players in the local economy, representing 46% of the city’s existing labour force. Recent immigrants to NYC have lower levels of educational attainment overall than native born residents, however, which presents a barrier to labour market entry and advancement. This case study explores how City University of New York colleges and their partners (including employers, public agencies and unions), are attempting to upgrade unemployed or low-wage immigrant workers’ skills through several career pathways models in the health, hospitality and retail sectors.
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