Pearland (TX) Economic Development Corporation – Workforce Analysis
ChallengeIn an effort to support and expand the community’s primary employment base —comprised of firms in manufacturing, oilfield services, wholesale trade & distribution, and maintenance & installation services—the Pearland Economic Development Corporation undertook an analysis of the area labor force with the assistance of TIP Strategies. The purpose of the study was to 1) profile Pearland’s future labor needs (the demand) and 2) document the types of workers currently being delivered by training providers (the supply). The goal was to identify areas where the supply of trained workers was not well matched with demand. The study was funded in part by Alvin Community College.
ApproachQuantitative information was gathered from 1) a review of available labor market data and projections, 2) data on awards and completions by area community colleges, and 3) an online survey of Pearland’s major employers. Findings from these quantitative analyses were supplemented by interviews with representatives from area institutions of higher education, placement agencies, and others familiar with the regional workforce. In addition, TIP prepared two scenarios of future growth by industry and occupation. One scenario assumed the city’s growth would continue as in the recent past; in the other, growth was assumed to mirror the Houston metropolitan area. These scenarios were then broken out by property type – office, industrial, and retail/restaurant – in order to better illustrate how this growth might be accommodated. Wage rates and skills training levels for the fastest growing occupations were also provided. Finally, strategic considerations affecting labor supply and demand were examined based on our understanding of state and national workforce trends.
OutcomeAlthough the study identified a few occupational shortages in the area, these “hard-to-fill” occupations aligned with national challenges, such as skilled machinists and welders. Training programs are already in the works to address these gaps. Looking to the future, the city’s industrial employers identified a growing need for engineering talent, along with a number of “white-collar” skills, such managerial experience, accounting, sales, and administrative positions. The development of The Spectrum and other growth along the Highway 288 corridor is expected to change the city’s employment mix and is likely to create even more demand for these types of occupations. The workforce study will help the PEDC and its higher education partners ensure that area workforce and economic development initiatives are positioning Pearland’s businesses for the future.