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Designing Local Skills Strategies

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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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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.

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