Fast Track to Hi Tech: Current Research on Targeted Workforce Development

Both the state of Texas and the city of Austin have pursued a cluster-based approach to economic development. Since 2004, the Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce (GACC) has raised $14 million in private funds through its "Opportunity Austin" campaign to finance a five-year economic development effort targeting nine industry clusters. The attention and momentum generated by the Texas Cluster Initiatives and Opportunity Austin spurred the workforce development system in Travis County – WorkSource – to better link the workforce development system with Austin's economic development efforts. WorkSource sponsored research on targeted industries, took action to build training capacity and started new training programs in response to developing skill shortages in targeted industry sectors. The following article describes the process and progress in wireless technology and biosciences – the two initial industry targets of WorkSource's Critical Skills Shortages Project.