By Mike Rawlings, Mayor —
North Texas is the fastest growing economy in the U.S. We are still in a sluggish economy nationwide but the Dallas workforce saw the second largest improvement nationwide over the second half of the last decade. This did not happen by accident; it happened by emphasizing private/public partnerships, leveraging our strengths in key business sectors and most importantly a mindset that understands how to create an environment for business growth.
A strong component of creating jobs in our community involves our public/private partnerships with corporations.
The Dallas workforce system, including Workforce Solutions Greater Dallas (the local workforce board), Dallas Regional Chamber, Dallas County Community College and City of Dallas economic development has been active in public-private partnerships for more than a decade. Workforce Solutions Greater Dallas (WSG Dallas) is an employer led non-profit board appointed by the Mayor of Dallas and the Dallas County Judge. We are very deliberate in these appointments to insure growth industry representation. Federal, state and local government funds are used to supplement workforce training and workforce screening for involved employers. Employers have multiple points of entry into the process and can easily find a partnership for any workforce need.
In fact this partnership help create the number one employer of the year as awarded by Texas Workforce Commission – NorthGate Constructors, a joint venture between two construction companies, joining together to implement a major highway project. NorthGate Constructors saw an immediate need for a trained and diverse workforce and approached WFS Dallas to meet this need. They were able to reach a trained, diverse workforce to begin work immediately and proud to say that in the first 50 hires, 22% were women and 22% Veterans.
Key Targeted Business Sectors
By targeting key business sectors in our city, we are able to capitalize on the areas that promise the greatest economic growth: Healthcare, Technology, Finance and Logistics
Healthcare has been a prominent industry in recent years and has garnered the attention of the chamber in developing a Healthcare Cluster to leverage funding for necessary workforce shortages. Most recently, state funding of over $1M has been approved to support new hire training and re-training for three mid-sized hospitals. This will result in new jobs, better trained healthcare professionals already employed and ultimately, better healthcare for the citizens of our community. We have focused on utilizing our community colleges to develop training opportunities in the healthcare field, creating a pipeline that will feed highly trained individuals into a growing workforce.
Dallas has a great tradition in breaking new ground in technology. Texas Instruments created Dallas’ tech corridor and the area is attracting more high tech companies and professionals. University of Texas at Dallas has been a magnet for great students who want to break new ground in this field and has just recently opened a new center for embryonic businesses that have come out of technology breakthroughs at the University.
Dallas has always been known as a banking and finance center. In the last decade it has become a hub for hedge funds, private equity shops, real estate funds and family offices looking for the next exciting investment. This focus on capital is key if we want to continue the growth we have seen in recent years. Many professionals are graduating from SMU’ s Cox School of Business, one of the nation’s fastest growing and hottest business schools.
Our unique geography will be fertile ground for this industry. Dallas’ central location is prime shipping to either coast, Mexico and Canada. Because of our world class airport, DFW is the fourth busiest airport in the world -not just in passenger traffic but air cargo which is a major part of its business model.
A SPECIAL ATTITUDE
Growing jobs is about growing businesses. And, to grow businesses a region must provide the personal as well as the professional needs of management. So, besides Dallas’s great network of professional services like legal, accounting, and marketing, we also tout a high quality of life with recreation, sports, the arts and education. But, importantly we must prepare our workforce for tomorrow’s world as well. By supporting and investing in initiatives and partnerships that train workers to succeed in these fields, we are ensuring that Dallas will grow its economy in the most efficient and successful way possible.
We identify, train, and prepare citizens for the challenges that our economy presents. One way Dallas has utilized these ideas is by partnering with our local community college, like Mountain View College, where there is a skill development project underway. These unique initiatives allow us to reach a group of citizenry who might otherwise be ignored. By giving more people an opportunity to succeed, Dallas will make the most of its most important resource; its people.
The Mountain View Skill Development Project provides cost effective, flexible and robust Information Technology solutions for businesses of all sizes and company capabilities for internal operations, supplies and customers. Through this initiative, Clear Technologies provides solutions that help organizations of all sizes increase organizational effectiveness. Owners, managers and employees of businesses of any size or type can benefit from this type of Information Technology training. Clear Technologies offers training that will prepare employees to not only succeed in meeting the needs of enterprise but to sustain success in the growing IT industry.
Dallas will continue to be a leading force for the economy of Texas by continuing to look forward in job creation and economic development opportunities. Because of our unique location within Texas and the country, we are afforded unique opportunities for growth, and plan to capitalize on those opportunities. As we continue to emphasize forward-looking job creation and leveraging our “Dallas Can Do Spirit”, the Dallas economy will continue to grow and our residents will be employed in jobs that can provide a high quality of life.
Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings has been a businessman, CEO and volunteer civic leader. He was CEO of Pizza Hut and Tracy-Locke Advertising, Dallas Homeless Czar, president of the Dallas Parks and Recreation Board, and chair of the Dallas Convention and Visitors’ Bureau.