According to the Center for Economic Operations: Workforce development is an essential component of any successful economic development strategy. All employers need access to a well trained workforce and ongoing training programs to keep their workforce skill levels current, to give their companies a competitive edge, to increase productivity, and to continue to grow and expand.
Education, training, and opportunities for continuous learning are critical in order to feed the demand for innovation in today's knowledge-based environments. Universities and community colleges are traditional providers for the continuing education and adult training needs of a community.
Investing in workforce development in the past decades has been challenging due to stiff competition from foreign companies, among many other structural and social based reasons. Sustainable economic development commits to finding ways to overcome these challenges.
The core focus of economic development is business retention, attraction, and development. In low density, rural areas, economic development and meaningful employment opportunities can be difficult to achieve using traditional methods of economic development. In recent decades, local officials have committed to a growth model that responds to a complex, competitive, globalized, and diverse world.
Part of that response involves harnessing growth opportunities from the renewable energy sector, healthy and sustainable agriculture, efficient building construction and renovation, and environmental restoration and stewardship. Using local assets and working with regional partners can result in communities that grow and prosper and are resilient, vibrant, futuristic, and engaged.
Rural Pennsylvania has untapped strengths: abundant natural resources, strong work ethic, solid communities and high quality of life. Sustainable economic development incorporates these traits to ensure that rural areas can share in the nation’s economic growth.