Authors: Robert W. Glover, Suzanne Hershey, and Christopher T. King
Date: October 2005
Publication Type: Report, 16pp.
The Critical Skills Shortages Project began with an examination of the nine targeted industry clusters that the Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce (GACC) launched in 2004 in its five-year “Opportunity Austin” campaign to promote economic development. The project assessed the suitability and receptiveness of each of these industry clusters for implementing workforce development efforts to remedy labor shortages and support the growth of the cluster. The project sought to identify mid-skill occupations in demand that could emerge into a labor shortage situation. To meet the criteria for selection, these occupations also should be suitable for targeting by the workforce system and employers in the industry sector should be sufficiently organized and receptive to collaborate on analyzing factors contributing to the shortages and to participate in the remedies. On the basis of this initial assessment, the project narrowed its focus to two of the most promising clusters: biosciences and wireless technology. Both industry clusters are targeted in the Chamber’s Opportunity Austin campaign and in Texas state-level economic development initiatives. Both selected industry clusters are emerging industries, populated by small firms, and characterized by fast changing technologies. Both biosciences and wireless technology have strong university-based research support in Austin. In each of these clusters, there are approximately 100 firms located in the Greater Austin area. However, at this time, neither cluster has an anchor firm.