Recognizing Growth of Our Own
While we’re always excited to share examples of growth and development in the communities we serve, we’re particularly proud to share some recent growth of our own. This summer, we’ve welcomed two additional members to the CAEL Workforce and Economic Development team, Claire Linnemeier and Josh Klein, and we’re excited for you to meet them!
Claire Linnemeier, the Workforce and Economic Development team’s new program director, will be leading project delivery and engaging in business development for the team. Claire has significant experience within all the areas we engage – economic development, workforce development and higher education. Most recently, Claire was assistant director of strategic planning at Indiana University’s Office of Institutional Research and Reporting. Previously, Claire worked for Strategic Development Group, Inc. and Thomas P. Miller & Associates with a variety of clients in public, private and non-profit sectors on topics ranging from housing needs assessments to manufacturing supply chain analyses. She has a Bachelor and Master of Public Affairs from the School of Public & Environmental Affairs at Indiana University.
We are also happy to introduce Josh Klein, the team’s new project coordinator. Josh was most recently with the Department of Workforce Development with the City of Springfield. He brings four years of public workforce system experience from his time with the City of Springfield and the Ozark Region Workforce Board in Missouri. Throughout his time with the Ozark Region Board, he worked on a wide variety of projects and strategic initiatives focusing primarily on program design, marketing strategy and data analysis. A regular presenter at national and regional workforce conferences, Josh has shared insights on a range of topics relevant to local workforce boards. Josh is a graduate of Missouri State University in Springfield where he earned his B.S. in Public Relations.
Both Claire and Josh have already started to work closely with clients and have leveraged their unique perspectives to begin to develop effective solutions for workforce and economic development needs in regions nationwide. We look forward to sharing more about these solutions in the months to come.
According to recent analyses, the health care industry can now be considered the largest employer in the U.S. Given that, it’s no surprise that the conversation has reached a fever pitch across the country when it comes to ensuring that workforces are suitably qualified for the multitude of open positions in the health care industry.
Nationally there remains a shortage of entry- and mid-level health care workers, an issue exacerbated by the aging U.S. population. A recent study by Mercer found that by 2025 the U.S. will likely face significant shortages in positions ranging from nurse practitioners to home health aides. This is true on a regional level around the country as well, and that’s why we’re currently working in California to respond to the regional demand for a qualified health care workforce.
CAEL was selected by the Coastal Region Workforce Development Boards—a consortium of the workforce boards of Monterey, Santa Barbara, Santa Cruz and San Louis Obispo counties in California—this spring to conduct a health care industry analysis and develop a health care sector partnership plan for the region. This work will also include the creating of key occupational profiles, an inventory of related education and training assets, and a health care pre-apprenticeship/apprenticeship concept. The project will continue into the fall.
We are actively engaged in projects throughout the country, helping communities grow and prosper. Here are a few of our current projects.
National Council for Workforce Education 2018 Conference
Clearwater Beach, FL | 9/26/27
Recent Posts from CAEL’s Workforce and Economic Development Blog, Talent Crunch
CAEL’s motto, “linking learning and work,” speaks to our deep appreciation for meeting our clients at the intersection of higher education and training opportunities, and the evolving needs of employers.
In May, Sacramento State hosted a convening that demonstrated the value of bringing to the table representatives from both the education and employment sectors, The Summit on Educational Attainment for Working Age Adults. There, area stakeholders representing higher education, government and employers came together to highlight opportunities for better regional workforce alignment.
CAEL helped plan and facilitate the summit, leveraging rich experience working with partners in higher education and workforce and economic development.
We recently spoke with Dean of College of Continuing Education at Sacramento State Dr. Jenni Murphy, who helped spearhead the summit.
CAEL: To begin, can you tell us a little bit about the summit?
Jenni Murphy: The purpose for the summit was to take the opportunity to spotlight the problem of working-age adult educational attainment. We wanted to bring leaders from the community together to look at the numbers and put together the reality of what’s going on in our region. We brought together leaders from the business sector, including large-scale businesses and small businesses, along with educators and economic development folks. We wanted to dive in and understand what the impact is when we have such a large percentage of folks who have some college experience but no degree and who are between the ages of 25 and 64. The summit exceeded my expectations by far!
CAEL: So, why is this topic particularly important to the Sacramento region?
Murphy: There are a couple things.
In the Sacramento region, from an economic development standpoint—and so from the priorities of businesses and people who want thriving communities—we’re really looking to not only retain talent, as well as business and industry in the region, but we’re also looking to attract more companies, larger talent and better high-wage jobs.
From a community vitality perspective, the health of our community is really important to us, as well as the health of our individuals and our ability to address the issue of poverty in the region. We all know that education is a pathway out of poverty. When we have so many adults who are lacking that next level of educational attainment, be it a credential or industry recognized certificate or an associate degree or a baccalaureate degree, we’re really missing the mark in terms of serving these adults and letting them thrive. We want to be able to help them shift the trajectory of their families in a positive direction.
CAEL: Can you talk about some of the stakeholders who were present and who helped to bring it together?
Murphy: One of our biggest partners is an organization called Align Capital Region, and their model is based off some of the work that was done in Nashville Align and Align America Network. It uses the collective action model to address complex problems in the community. So Align Capital Region was one of our strong partners in terms of convening the right folks.
We had representatives from some of our local government institutions, including the different mayors’ offices in our surrounding cities. We had county government represented, including people affiliated with the workforce side of things and the health care side. People from state government were present to engage with the workforce, economic development and health care sides of things as well. At the federal level, we had some representatives from our legislators.
Then we had organizations representing the business community. We had Greater Sacramento Economic Council (GSEC), who represents business and industry as well as our Metro Chamber of Commerce as well as our equity organizations, including the Sacramento Asian Pacific Chamber of Commerce and the Sacramento Urban League.
We had several nonprofit and community-based organizations there, as well as community colleges and private-sector educational institutions and trade schools. Of course Sacramento State was present, as were quite a few big employers from the region.
CAEL: That sounds quite diverse.
Murphy: We had an amazing cross-section. Originally, I said “We’ll have 80 people there.” In my head, I was thinking, if we could get 30 to 40 people in the room, as long as they’re the right people, then we’re good.
We had over 100 people in attendance throughout the day, and every one of them was representing the right people. That’s why I say it exceeded my expectations. Some of the folks who turned out were already aware of this issue and were just looking for a place to convene a conversation, and to be part of a solution for addressing this issue. Other folks who didn’t really know about the problem previously, but because of the information we shared ahead of time and the way we framed the problem, they thought, “I want to know more. I want to be a part of this.”
CAEL: What were some of the next steps from the convening?
Murphy: The first key takeaway was, from that cross-section I listed, there’s a great deal of interest to address this problem in our region and to figure out how we solve it. What are all the different steps we can take to make an impact for these individuals? How will the impact we have on these individuals, in turn, impact our greater region and our economy?
In terms of next steps, we are convening what’s called an action team, which is part of the alignment model. The action team will come together to be a group that functions not only as thought leaders, but also as an advisory group. How do we set some goals around this for our region? We know it’s a problem, and we know some of the big numbers from the economic and community census data, but who are the real people in our region behind these numbers? How do we take action to address this issue? Do we divide it up? Do we try to institute pilot projects based on industry segments and other strands? For instance, we have a shortage of folks in the health care area, but we’ve got good jobs available. Do we take action by segmenting our efforts toward groups like veterans, women, Latinos or people who are 15 units short of finishing their degrees?
I am also looking at putting together a bigger advisory board for the regional initiative. This will be different from the action team who are(?) going to do more of the project and attainment work. This larger board would focus on the bigger initiative, and it will be an advisory group to our college as well.
One of the other things we’re going to do is to have a miniature roadshow. We held the summit in Sacramento near the capitol, and that’s a great geographical thing for us, but we serve a lot of counties in the region. There’s 13 counties that feed into Sacramento State. There’s quite a few community colleges in the area and there’s six counties for our Metro Chamber as well as eight counties from Align Capital Region, so we realize not everybody was at the summit. We’re going to take a small version of the summit out to different counties and provide the big-picture data from a national, statewide and regional perspective. Then we’ll have conversations about what they’re seeing, who would like to be involved, and how they’d like to be involved in this effort. The main thing that’ll be different from the big summit is that we’re not going to be able to bring in all the big speakers. We’ll keep it a little smaller and a more succinct.
Those are some of the key next steps. We’re also going to publish a summary of our convening as well, so that’s something that will be coming up.
CAEL: What advice would you give to other regions looking to host a similar summit of their own?
Murphy: I think the first piece of advice is always to look at what others are doing. You want to understand not just what they’re doing, but why they’re doing it. Then look at your local landscape and find people to bounce this idea off, people who will rally around it and see what makes sense for your region.
I also recommend reaching out to folks in these areas who have done it before. I found everybody to be so helpful. There’s a commonality in the work that we all want to do to help people, and specifically to help people finish their education. We know how education transforms lives.
I found that everybody I reached out to was so helpful, and I know we will be just as helpful to others as well.
CAEL: How did CAEL’s work influenced and support your efforts?
Murphy: CAEL’s influence actually dates to the late 2000s.
I actually used the CAEL adult-friendly policy framework in my dissertation when I was working on my doctorate degree. I used that framework to look at 13 different state-level entities in California in terms of how policy was either working for or working against near-completers. That really put me into looking at the policy space and the conditions that would allow this problem or this issue to be addressed. Then, as a subscriber to CAEL, I continued to follow the data reports around this issue.
I also saw that in California, there wasn’t a real appetite—not at the policy level, not at the state level—for anyone to really set a goal statewide goal for attainment. I really believe that if there’s a goal, people will rise up and meet it, or at least try to meet it. In the last several years, we’ve started to see a little more traction here in California, but mostly we’ve been able to watch what others are doing elsewhere in the country.
There were two big tipping points for me with CAEL.
The first was when I met with CAEL board members in the summer of 2017, Dr. Chris Bustamante—he’s in Arizona with Rio Salado College to discuss CAEL’s work.
The second tipping point was when I attended CAEL’s conference in San Diego. I was able to really be among people who are doing this sort of work, and to see the output of it as well as see the different stages of its execution. I was able to better understand the ways in which folks were using the tools. I think that experience really served as a fantastic catalyst for me, because I felt like I now had a kind of tactical exposure to the operational elements of this work—the way that it was working. And then I also got to meet absolutely fantastic people.
CAEL: Did you have any final thoughts?
Murphy: We have a website called projectattain.org, and if you go there, you can see pictures and presentations from the summit and follow our progress.