Workforce and the development of a regions workforce has been a big part of the motivation of my career. As I wind down one chapter and begin the next it occurs to me that my opinion and definition of workforce has evolved over time. The study of workforce and subsequent impact regionally on it has been central to my evolution as a “worker” and as an individual with a singular goal of improving the chances for citizens in my network.
Workforce is defined as the labor pool in employment. This is a very simplistic view of the term as its evolution seems to point to not only the labor pool employed, but the emerging labor pool and the conditions creating that pool. An explanation is as follows: if in a region…there are 100 health care providers, 100 service workers, 100 construction workers, 100 manufacturing workers and 100 educators. That workforce would represent the whole of the “employed” workforce, but would not show the potential of that workforce for growth and economic development. With this in mind we also need to differentiate the persons in each category: an example is in the health trades where you have doctors, nurses, clinicians, support staff and others. Each area has a different set of needs and educational training to perform their function. The same is true for each category and what the workforce needs to sustain itself and then to grow.
Laying this groundwork we then need to discuss that the network is actually a compilation of all of the required components and each component has its individual need and worth within the system. A Doctor requires more training and makes more money in the system, but the support technician for that Doctors office is required or the Doctor cannot do their work. Subsequently a person registering a patient needs one set of educational skill-sets, while that a Radiologist that performs the procedure on that registered patient needs yet another skill-set. And none of them could do their work without the Electrician who keeps the vital electricity flowing into the system.
Why is this important? A workforce is a group of “blue collar”, “white collar” and “grey collar” individuals that have different skill-sets that perform a needed function for the citizenry to maintain and grow. The structure of the workforce is created by the citizens and functions or fails by their actions.