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Brian Sorenson

Recent Posts


Amazon's HQ2: A Lesson in Skills Gaps

Posted by Brian Sorenson on January 29, 2019

Topics: Workforce Development, Talent Management, Employee Training, Skills Gap

Amazon announced its choices for the coveted HQ2 locations more than two months ago, and the decision continues to elicit commentary nationwide. Of course, given everything at stake—Amazon says it will invest $5 billion and create more than 50,000 new jobs across the two locations—it’s no surprise that the decision continues to be a topic of discussion.

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos attributed his company’s decision to open its additional headquarters in Northern Virginia and New York City to the supply of “world-class talent” in both areas. Framed that way, it’s easy to see how leaders in other communities—not just those that were in the running for HQ2, but also those that have future aspirations to invite such economic development to their regions—could come away from Amazon’s decision second-guessing their own talent pipelines.

If economic heavyweights like Chicago, Atlanta and Dallas failed to win over Amazon, how are other communities to compete?


New Study Examines Impact of Underemployment

Posted by Brian Sorenson on June 18, 2018

Topics: Workforce Development, Talent Management, Employee Motivation

Underemployment is commonly thought of as a short-term issue for recent college graduates who, after gaining some experience in a position they’re overqualified for, soon move on to careers befitting their qualifications. Unfortunately, underemployment can be a far more harmful, longer-lasting issue than is commonly recognized. 


Building a Workforce Strategy in Northeast Florida

Posted by Brian Sorenson on June 5, 2018

Topics: Workforce Development, Success Stories, Recruiting Talent, Sector Partnerships

Since February, CAEL has been a consultant on a project to develop and implement a strategy to encourage positive economic and job growth in northeast Florida, and to enhance the region’s brand. This initiative, Elevate Northeast Florida, is aimed at reaching the following regional goals:

  • Economic growth: Elevate Northeast Florida will lead to increased economic growth in the region by identifying and capitalizing on regional and county-specific assets.
  • Talent development: Elevate Northeast Florida will lead to a more competitive talent pool and increased employment by connecting residents to jobs, especially in target industries.
  • Brand recognition: Elevate Northeast Florida will result in a marketing and branding campaign that raises awareness of the region’s assets to U.S. and international audiences.
  • Global competitiveness: Elevate Northeast Florida will lead to enhanced global competitiveness by focusing on strategic investments across the region.
    Source: ElevateNeFL.com

We recently spoke with JAXUSA Partnership’s Vice President of Education and Workforce Development, Tina Wirth, about the initiative and how JAXUSA has worked to bolster economic development throughout northeast Florida.


How CAEL is Putting Prior Learning Assessment to Work in Philadelphia

Posted by Brian Sorenson on February 14, 2018

Topics: Workforce Development, Prior Learning Assessments (PLA)

CAEL has been working with Philadelphia Works to develop a prior learning assessment (PLA) strategy with partner the Community College of Philadelphia. PLA, which encourages student completion toward a degree or credential by granting credit for demonstrated college-level knowledge or skills, can be an effective tool for upskilling a workforce. CAEL recently spoke with Sue Hoffman, Senior Associate of Innovation at Philadelphia Works, to learn more about how this project will help Philadelphia’s workforce. 


New Year, New Attitudes about Careers

Posted by Brian Sorenson on January 26, 2018

Topics: Employee Engagement, PathSavvy

A new report offers insight into the rapidly evolving employee expectations of how a career should be defined and what it should offer. The eye-opening insights can inform a deeper conversation on how employers can foster a workplace environment that encourages employee satisfaction and engagement–a conversation CAEL has been leading with the career pathing solution PathSavvy and advising resource CareerSavvy


Free CAEL Member Webinar: Drive Economic Growth with Workforce Alignment

Posted by Brian Sorenson on October 6, 2017

Topics: Workforce Development, CAEL Members, Webinar

As communities work to differentiate themselves in a competitive global economy, alignment between economic and workforce development is essential. Successful communities, urban or rural, large or small, are proactively building this workforce alignment through a coordinated, systematic approach that helps to drive economic growth.


How Some Manufacturers are Building the Workforce of the Future

Posted by Brian Sorenson on September 7, 2017

Topics: Knowledge Transfer, Employee Training, Skills Gap

According to a report by Deloitte and The Manufacturing Institute, there will be two million manufacturing jobs that will have to be filled over the next decade, contrary to incorrect assumptions that manufacturing is dead. Owing to the looming skills gap between workplace needs and the existing available talent, the report suggests that an average U.S. manufacturer could stand to lose an average of $14,000 per open position that remains unfilled.


Considering Career Pathing? Your Organization Might Be Better Prepared for it Than You Think

Posted by Brian Sorenson on August 22, 2017

Topics: Workforce Development, Employee Engagement, Employee Retention, Talent Management, Career Pathing

If you were to ask 100 organizational leaders about what stands in their way of implementing a new talent management strategy like career pathing, you might get 100 unique answers. But as diverse as the responses you receive may be, most of them can be summed up with one area of concern: Uncertainty about sufficient cultural support within the organization to ensure success of the new strategy.


Talent in the Driver Seat: Reflecting on the 2017 Mid-American Economic Development Council Best Practices Conference

Posted by Brian Sorenson on August 17, 2017

Topics: Workforce Development, Best Practices

As communities work to differentiate themselves in an increasingly competitive global economy, the need for alignment between economic and workforce development has never been more important. Today, successful communities of all sizes, urban and rural, are building this workforce alignment proactively and through a coordinated, systematic approach that helps to drive economic growth.


Why Google’s New $50 Million Upskilling Initiative Matters

Posted by Brian Sorenson on July 28, 2017

Topics: Workforce Development, Employee Training, Skills Gap

USA Today reports that Google.org—Google’s philanthropic arm—has pledged $50 million to better prepare workers to handle the demands of today’s rapidly evolving job market.