Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, employers across the country were experiencing severe labor market challenges, including low labor force participation rates and the aging out of the baby boom generation. With the onset of the pandemic, many of these challenges were accelerated. Workers across the country scrambled to figure out how to work from home, and the effects of the pandemic exacerbated economic disparities across race and ethnic groups, income and education levels, and gender. With the availability of skilled and unskilled labor continuing to be a major driver in site selection decisions, communities nationwide must prioritize talent retention, development, and attraction to remain competitive. Virginia Beach is no exception.
After completing an economic development strategic plan for the City of Virginia Beach in 2021, TIP Strategies was re-engaged to review the area’s talent pipeline. Working with the Virginia Beach Department of Economic Development (VBDED), the TIP consulting team conducted an in-depth data analysis of the occupations and skills, talent migration trends, and education and training programs in the Hampton Roads region. The resulting Workforce Explorer, delivered as an interactive Tableau workbook, provided a broad analysis of workforce factors that influence the City’s economic vitality and overall competitiveness. This quantitative analysis was supplemented by one-on-one interviews and roundtables with stakeholders including employers, staffing professionals, and leaders in the education and training sector. Based on this work, TIP prepared a comprehensive report which detailed the depth and breadth of the regional labor market, highlighted its strengths, and identified challenges that must be addressed to support current and future employer needs. Building on the talent and workforce goals in the 2021 plan, the Talent Pipeline Review provides specific recommendations for the VBDED to take a more active role in addressing workforce development issues by making talent a core economic development function.