Case Study

Southwest City Workforce Challenge


A mid-sized Texas City was challenged to reduce poverty, increase labor force participation, and increase area income. The core of the client’s economic development challenge was twofold. First, too many of the city’s residents did not have the sufficient skill sets to meet the talent needs of the region’s core businesses. Moreover, many of these individuals faced other challenges as well, including lack of quality and secure childcare, reliable transportation, and, most importantly, lack of job-readiness skills. Second, many of the region’s businesses only sought low-skilled positions that pay poorly and offer limited career advancement. Also, the quality of the area’s workforce may have influenced the investment decisions of future employers that may only view the community area as a low-cost, competitive location for only low-skilled assembly and the warehousing of products.


The consulting Team spent several months doing field work and research. The process included community interviews, focus group and workshop sessions, workforce studies, employer interviews. The team also researched demand side analytics to determine the true employment need from employers. Finally, there was an infrastructure assessment including transportation options, a building and facility market analysis. The objective was to create a list of action steps that the client would implement as part of a long-term solution. Those steps included:

  • Implement an Employer-Driven Workplace Readiness Skills Training Program
  • Components of a Workplace Readiness Skills Training Program
  • Develop Target Industry Job Fairs
  • Extend the Activities of the Employer Consortium to Include Shared Training Needs
  • Bring Jobs to People
  • Improve the City’s Current Economic Development Services
  • Develop an Education Pathway Especially for Minorities to Successfully Enter and Complete College


In collaboration with the client, we created a living document that continues to be used and referenced currently. The team incorporated the recommended action steps into the community’s strategic plan. A link to Vestian work study is still provided on city’s website and continues to be used as KPIs and transparency by the City’s residents using the above recommended action steps