Ringing in the New Year: 2019 Outlook and Opportunities

By on January 2, 2019
Ringing in the New Year: 2019 Outlook and Opportunities

At this time of year, many people across St. Louis are taking time to reflect on 2018 accomplishments and connect with friends and family. We at Workforce Solutions Group are no different – we enjoyed a busy year in 2018 and are proud of all we have done to advance people, businesses and our community as part of a great St. Louis Community College team.

While reflection is appropriate, we are already looking forward to getting to work in 2019. This year promises to be as exciting and busy as the one we just closed out. We’re working with an economy that is still growing (although likely at a slower rate) and a tight labor market that will continue to challenge companies looking to hire skilled workers. Workforce Solutions Group is ready to partner with employers looking to develop their own capabilities through customized training and with individuals looking to improve their skills or to train for entirely new careers.

We aren’t wasting time getting started. Registration for our spring term of Continuing Education classes opens Jan. 7, providing community members access to more than 900 professional and personal development classes in everything from project management to UFOs. This year, we have added a new cluster of courses in nonprofit development for those interested in starting an organization or looking to apply for grants to support critical work in the St. Louis region.

The low unemployment rate means employers are finding it increasingly hard to find new workers. Smart companies are those looking to retrain incumbent employees, preparing them to advance into new internal positions. Our Corporate Services team is developing training models that combine classroom and online instruction to minimize an incumbent worker’s time away from his or her current job while getting ready for the next one. The team is also focused on incorporating worker training into a company’s performance improvement efforts.

In August, we will release our 11th State of the St. Louis Workforce Report, part of our commitment to provide the community with up-to-date data on our local economy and employment trends. This year, we will once again work with the Missouri Department of Economic Development (MERIC) to survey more than 1,100 employers in industries across the region and provide insights into how companies are responding to economic challenges.

St. Louis Community College and Workforce Solutions Group are also leaning in to make sure we are turning the report’s insights into actions. Healthcare and information technology positions continually rank near the top in numbers of job vacancies in St. Louis. To respond to this demand, STLCC will open its new Nursing and Health Sciences Center on its Forest Park campus in fall of 2019. The new facility creates a center of excellence for healthcare education and training and will allow the college to significantly increase its graduates in nursing, patient care technician and other in-demand fields.

In addition, we are partnering with entrepreneurial training organizations such as nPower and LaunchCode to expand our ability to deliver accelerated training for high-paying information technology jobs. These programs combine on-campus classroom training with paid apprenticeship opportunities at employers ranging from Fortune 500 companies to local nonprofits.

2018 proved successful for Workforce Solutions Group across all of our business units – corporate services, community services and our continuing education program. I’m excited to launch into 2019 with continuing energy and further STLCC’s important work in the St. Louis region.

About Hart Nelson

Hart Nelson was appointed associate vice chancellor, Workforce Solutions Group in May 2018. Nelson has 23 years of career experience in public policy, government relations, intelligence and information technology. He serves as the lead for economic and workforce development, is responsible for managing corporate and community workforce development, continuing professional development and personal enrichment education, as well as managing entrepreneurial initiatives that reflect the needs of local, regional and national employers. Most recently, Nelson was vice president of public policy for the St. Louis Regional Chamber. He has been a foreign service officer with the U.S. Department of State, an intelligence officer with the United States Navy Reserve and an information technology architect with IBM. As a volunteer, he is board treasurer of Citizens for Modern Transit and vice chair of the Missouri Military Preparedness and Enhancement Commission. He has a master's degrees in business administration and information management from Washington University in St. Louis and a Bachelor of Arts in political science and mass communication from University of California-Berkeley.

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