Between 2010 and 2015, the Fort Collins–Loveland economy expanded at a rapid pace, adding nearly 20,000 jobs. The local labor market did not keep pace, however, adding just 11,000 workers over the same period. This imbalance, coupled with low unemployment and high underemployment, left many employers unable to find the talent they need. With continued strong employment growth projected for the region and a large number of workers approaching retirement, the Fort Collins Area Chamber of Commerce convened a group of partners in 2016 to assess the labor force, identify key challenges, and develop a regional talent strategy.
The Chamber engaged TIP Strategies to facilitate the process, which began with an update of a labor force analysis conducted by TIP for the City of Fort Collins in 2014. The updated analysis was supplemented by roundtable discussions with more than 50 employers about their workforce challenges. Employers’ response to these challenges—many of which mirrored national and global trends—included taking steps to improve productivity, delaying plans for growth in Fort Collins, and choosing to expand elsewhere. The Talent 2.0 Regional Workforce Strategy provided a common agenda for aligning the efforts and resources of regional partners to amplify the reach and impact of individual organizations. The resulting framework was organized around three opportunities: actively supporting employers with talent recruitment efforts, improving the alignment of education and workforce resources with employer needs, and collectively addressing structural barriers (including housing affordability and regional mobility). This collective approach was designed to build on effective programs already in place, while creating mechanisms to scale current programs to a regional level. The Talent 2.0 initiative was launched in early 2017 and quickly gained momentum. Information on the status of the recommendations can be found at https://workinnortherncolorado.com/hr-resources/.