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St. Louis Fed survey: lack of soft skills training in region


From Illinois Business Journal news services

ST. LOUIS ― A lack of soft skills training opportunities ranks as the biggest concern in the workforce development field in the St. Louis area, according to a new survey by the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.

Nearly 60 percent of respondents to the 2015 Workforce Development Survey said they believe a shortage of training opportunities for soft skills – such as communicating, collaborating and problem-solving — is the biggest gap in workforce development in St. Louis. Other top concerns include:

• a lack of hard skills (technology, manufacturing, etc.) training opportunities;
• weak relationships between workforce development providers and employers; and
• insufficient incentives for businesses to grow or relocate to the St. Louis area.

For full survey results, visit:

Community development specialists at the St. Louis Fed collected responses from 123 workforce development providers and intermediaries for the survey. Providers said they offered job search, training and placement services, and soft skills training. Intermediaries tended to be organizations that fund providers, lobby and hold forums on workforce development issues, and research the topic.

The purpose of the survey is to inform workforce development practitioners about trends and outlooks that
affect low- and moderate-income communities in the St. Louis area.

The St. Louis Fed worked with eight local organizations to administer the survey: St. Louis Agency on Training and Employment, St. Louis County Division of Workforce Development, Jefferson/Franklin County Employment Consortium, St. Charles County Department of Workforce & Business Development, Madison County Employment and Training Department; St. Clair County Intergovernmental Grants Department, United Way of Greater St. Louis and STL Youth Jobs.

Community Development at the St. Louis Fed works to identify challenges confronting low- and moderate-income communities; conducts analyses, develops resources and shares ideas that strengthen LMI communities and increases the efficacy of community development practitioners and policymakers; and fosters collaboration among key players from financial institutions, nonprofits and government agencies, as well as public officials, researchers and practitioners, to stimulate ideas and share insights that address the challenges of LMI communities.

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