This column was originally published in the Gettysburg Times, September 13, 2018.

How many times have you heard people say, “I wish I had a crystal ball so I could see into the future?”

Unfortunately, we cannot predict the future with absolute certainty under any condition, but the use of historical data is still the best way to forecast what the future might hold. The Adams Economic Alliance and its partners use a lot of data when planning for the future needs of the county. Traditional economic development practices focused on the expansion and attraction of businesses. Creating living wage jobs has been our mantra. An aging workforce, rapid and ongoing changes in technology and an unpredictable global economy has created the perfect storm.  Where have all the employees gone?  Many are retiring.  Many who have long operated machinery no longer have the necessary skill set to do so in today’s highly technical facilities. Workforce development is a system with many moving parts and partners, all of whom are concerned with and dedicated to matching employees with employers.

A partnership was formed last year called Advantage Adams which includes the Adams County Office of Planning and Development, Destination Gettysburg, the Gettysburg Adams Chamber of Commerce, HACC- Gettysburg Campus and our Adams Economic Alliance. Over the course of the past year, we have held five industry roundtable discussions focused on tourism, agriculture, manufacturing, health care and small businesses.

On Tuesday, September 25, we invite the public to attend our sixth discussion, pulling data together from the previous five sessions, and looking into the future of Adams County’s workforce. This free session will be held at HACC, Gettysburg Campus, beginning with a 7:30 am breakfast and 8 am program.

Our partner South Central PA Works (SCPaWorks) will deliver the keynote address, including a plethora of data on future jobs. For example, data shows there will soon be 4,000 openings in the IT field in South Central PA. How can we prepare our workforce for shifting, changing employment opportunities? Where can we find education tailored for those jobs? How can educational and business leaders partner to create a pipeline of qualified workers?

Our panel discussion will feature Sam Primak of SCPa Works who is site administrator for PA CareerLink Adams County, Katie Lentz who is SCPA Works’ director of strategic initiative and Vic Rodgers who is HACC’s assistant provost for workforce development.

I invite you to come and soak in all their knowledge, but I also invite you to bring your questions, and perhaps most importantly, I hope the end result is a sparking of new ideas, new initiatives and new partnerships designed to take Adams County’s workforce into an exciting future!

To RSVP for this free event: Click here!