About Us

About Us

Challenge: Growing Skills Gap

Our region’s long-term economic success depends on our ability to develop and supply a qualified workforce. 

Businesses increasingly need higher skilled workers to compete and grow out of this recession, and workers need skills and preparation to secure well-paying jobs and advance in their careers. By 2018, nearly two-thirds of all jobs will require some post-secondary education or training. Of these jobs that will require post-secondary education, half will require a Bachelor’s degree or higher, and half will require an Associate’s degree or occupational certificate. In addition to technical skills and credentials, employers need workers with the professional skills necessary to succeed in the workplace. 

The skills of our workforce are not keeping pace with the demands of employers. Nearly half of our current workforce lacks any education beyond high school, and far too many of our high school graduates fail to successfully enroll in and complete post-secondary education. Employers also report that far too many workers lack basic professionalism skills, like work ethic, dependability, taking initiative, and problem solving. Our businesses cannot compete if they cannot find qualified workers, and our residents cannot get family-sustaining jobs unless they further develop their skills. 

Key Facts

  • By 2018, nearly two-thirds of all jobs will require some post-secondary education or training.
  • Nearly half of our region’s current workforce lacks any education beyond high school.
  • Half of all local businesses expect to struggle to find qualified workers for in-demand jobs in the next 3-5 years.
  • Nationwide, at least 3 million jobs go unfilled due to the skills gap; a figured expected to reach 7 million by 2018.


Since 2008, we have raised more than $3.2 million and leveraged an additional $21.6 million in public and private funds from local, state, and national sources, including $8.4 million in state and federal grants, and $11.9 million in aligned training funds from the region’s public workforce system.

Key Staff List

Mardia Shands

Executive Director, Partners for a Competitive Workforce
| Phone: 513.

Hope Arthur

Director, Health Care Collaborative
| Phone: 513.562.8461

Debby Combs

Director, Advanced Manufacturing
| Phone: 513.403.1988

Sean Kelley

Director, Talent Pipeline
| Phone: 513.579.3123

Jesse Simmons

Director, Transportation, Distribution and Logistics Career Pathway
| Phone: 513.284.6680

Geoff Smith

Director, IT Career Pathways
| Phone: 513.240.1468