Exploring the Labor Landscape: Analyzing Workforce Challenges with Byran Slater, Virginia Secretary of Labor
What are the workforce trends that will shape the future of the public sector locally and across Virginia? It’s a question Bryan Slater, Virginia Secretary of Labor, tackled during a Wilder School Lunch and Learn virtual presentation.
He discussed a spectrum of contemporary workforce challenges, including the mounting challenges filling positions across the Commonwealth of Virginia and solutions to meet current and emerging workforce needs.
For Slater, being effective across public labor sectors requires a focus on metrics and outcomes, as well as heightened transparency. He highlighted a forthcoming consolidation of more than a dozen key workforce components into one central agency. This alignment, he shared, will create greater efficiencies and help standardize performance metrics in an effort to standardize across each of Virginia’s workforce program and executive branch.
“Jobs filled is the key metric we really want to focus on,” said Slater. “Our focus is to train the businesses' needs. As I like to say, ‘who's hiring?’”
In combination with business outreach and employment pipelines, his program are using career forecasting to help fill critical gaps in workforces beyond the public sectors like healthcare, IT and manufacturing. His team and program leaders intend to create a single location where leaders and employers can go for resources or help, as well as attract and retain talent from other states. His office is also incorporating national recognition programs to honor certifications and licenses from other states.
“We do a fantastic job of marketing Virginia to tourists,” he shared. “We need to do the same thing for businesses and workers. We need to focus on and directly market to people to come to Virginia to live, work, raise a family and retire.”
“Jobs filled is the key metric we really want to focus on. Our focus is to train the businesses' needs. As I like to say, ‘who's hiring?’” – Bryan Slater
He discussed the need for investment and support for trade apprenticeship programs and recruitment, especially across nontraditional areas. Slater also shared the implications of eliminating college degree requirements in an effort to fill critical positions across the commonwealth, eliminating these preferences for approximately 90% of state classified and civil service jobs.
“Now experience credentials, certifications and training will be on an equal footing with a four-year degree and hiring managers will have the ability to choose who they think is the best person to hire and who the best card candidate is based on multiple factors,” Slater said.
Slater also fielded questions from the audience, tackling future labor trends, the future of non-traditional benefits like remote working and detailed on a centralized database for all Virginia public sector jobs called Virginia Works.
November Lunch and Learn
Join us at noon on Wednesday, Nov.15 for our next Lunch and Learn presentation, “All Eyes on Virginia: Analyzing Election 2023” with Bob Holsworth, Ph.D.
A renowned political scientist, Holsworth will analyze the 2023 Virginia elections and examine future implications for the state. The session will be moderated by Robyn Diehl McDougle, Ph.D. (M.S.’00/GPA; Ph.D.’03/H&S), Wilder School associate dean of research and outreach and associate professor.
This event is co-sponsored by the VCU Alumni Political Science Caucus, a constituent academic organization of VCU Alumni. The caucus advances the mission of the university by connecting, serving and celebrating VCU political science alumni all over the world. Membership in this organization is automatically conferred on all VCU alumni who graduate with a degree in political science. Learn more.
About the speaker
Dr. Bob Holsworth, Ph.D., is one of the leading political analysts in Virginia. He is the regular political analyst for WTVR CBS6 in Richmond. His comments on Virginia and national politics have appeared in the Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, The Washington Post and in newspapers throughout Virginia and the nation. He has appeared on almost all the major American television networks as well as the BBC and Fuji Television. He was named one of the 100 Influentials in Virginia Politics by Campaigns and Elections magazine. Dr. Holsworth was the Founding Director of both the Center for Public Policy and the Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs at VCU. He received VCU’s Outstanding Teacher Award and SCHEV’s Outstanding Faculty Award. Bob is currently a Managing Principal in DecideSmart, a firm that provides analysis and planning assistance to agencies, local governments, nonprofits and private sector companies with governmental interests. He has also served on a number of boards and commissions. Bob chaired Governor McDonnell’s Independent Bipartisan Advisory Commission on Redistricting, was Executive Director of Governor Warner’s Commission on Efficiency and Effectiveness in Virginia State Government, and Co-Staff Director for Governor Wilder’s Commission on the Future of Virginia’s Urban Areas. He completed two terms on the Board of Visitors of Virginia Commonwealth University and a five-year term as Chair of the Great Aspirations Scholarship Program. He currently serves on the Board of RVA757 Connects. Bob received his Ph.D. from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
About the moderator
Robyn Diehl McDougle, Ph.D., is the associate dean of research and outreach and an associate professor at the Wilder School. Her primary area of research is program evaluation, project impact and the impact of violent crime on youths and community development. She has also worked with local and state correctional agencies in the development of effective prisoner reentry programs as well as helped create a nationally recognized jailers academy internship program. McDougle has conducted training in leadership, stress management and death investigation for local, state, federal and international law enforcement agencies and public safety organizations.