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Communicate Workforce Needs

Audience: Workforce developers, economic developers, and education and training program planners may find this guide useful.

Workforce development strategies are based on a thorough understanding of a region's labor dynamics. Regional workforce analysis provides insights for program planning by investigating the regional skill needs of major industries; the potential skill needs of industries targeted by economic development efforts; and assessments of the skills possessed by the existing and incoming labor force. Competency models support workforce development strategies by providing a common language for employers to communicate their workforce needs.

Regional workforce program planning requires an analysis of the skill needs of employers, the skills of the available labor force, and the education and training programs currently in place. To analyze these characteristics, workforce developers build an interdisciplinary team of workforce system professionals, businesses, economic developers, and educators.

Additionally, workforce developers can use competency models as a resource to:

  • provide a big-picture view of industry skill needs;
  • assess workforce competencies;
  • identify transferable skills between occupations; and
  • identify skill commonalities across industries.

The Workforce Development Council (WDC) of Seattle-King County, Washington, has been convening industry panels every two years since 2003 to identify workforce skills requirements for key industry sectors such as Information Technology. Read more about the WDC and their work on developing sector strategies and career pathways.

Visit the Models in Action to learn about the many additional ways competency models are being used.

  1. Identify the key industries in the local area. If you have an industry or list of industries in mind skip Step 3.
  2. Identify critical industry sectors in the state or local area by targeting industries that may have a relative competitive advantage in the state.
  3. Calculating the location quotient for employment in an industry provides a way to readily compare the relative concentration of employment among different areas of the country.
  4. Select the industry model that most closely matches the selected industry.
  5. Use the Build a Model Tool to customize the model to the targeted industry if necessary. For more information, click on the Worksheet tab below.
  6. Download competencies and key behaviors to the Employer Analysis Worksheet.
  7. Identify the local businesses in the targeted industry or industries using the Business Finder.
  8. Use the Employer Analysis worksheet to gather information from local businesses about their skill needs.
  9. Analyze the results.

The Employer Analysis worksheet is a tool that allows employers to weigh in on which competencies they value most by formatting the contents of a competency model into a survey or questionnaire document.

To download and use the Employer Analysis Worksheet, follow the directions below:

  1. Worksheets are available to download from each industry model page. After choosing an industry model, click "Download" in the Helpline section on the left. You will then have the option to download that model as a worksheet.

    You can also download your own customized model as a worksheet during the "Stop and Save" step of the Build a Model process.

  2. Edit the text or columns headings as desired; suggested headings are provided.
  3. Use the worksheet to gather input from employers.
  4. Tally the input – count the responses.
  5. Analyze the results.

Below is an example of a completed Employer Analysis worksheet.

Employer Analysis Worksheet - Example

Do you have advice on using competency models for Communicating Workforce Needs that you would like to share? If so, e-mail

For assistance applying your model in some common situations, select another guide.