Highly skilled and motivated are two descriptions most often heard about the region’s workforce. That is why Longview is home to many types of businesses requiring a variety of skills – from technical support centers to advanced manufacturing to medical and professional services, software developers, and support services including construction, telecommunications, and utilities. These companies require the best of skills, worker commitment, and loyalty. Texas is a right-to-work state.
World-class business leaders Air Liquide, BorgWarner, Eastman Chemical, Joy Global, and Stemco are examples of manufacturing companies achieving high productivity and low cost operations in the region. The medical community, led by Good Shepherd Medical Center and Longview Regional Medical Center continues to grow, attracting new talent and providing quality medical services to the region.
In 2010, The Pathfinders, a national consulting firm, identified an estimated 42,850 underemployed people working in the region – a significant opportunity. Longview recognizes that employers’ needs are changing and is providing significant resources to assist both employers and job seekers. The Workforce Solutions East Texas, located in their new 27,000 square foot facility, also provides a high level of customer service for both employers and job seekers. Their Business Services Unit is dedicated to serving the needs of local employers. In addition, Kilgore College and Texas State Technical College provide training programs customized for each business’ needs including pre-employment training.
Longview has a workforce of over 330,000 drawn from a 12-county region surrounding the Longview metropolitan area. This workforce has grown steadily with a 17% increase since 2000. Over the same period, the state’s population increased by 20%; double the nation’s at 9.6%.
A Skilled Workforce
The area workforce is heavily concentrated in the manufacturing, services, and trade sectors. Manufacturing employment accounts for 12% of all jobs in the labor force. A highly skilled labor force contributes to this area’s high manufacturing base with more than 200 manufacturers in a 40-mile radius. Of the major manufacturing companies in this area, 31% are involved in machinery manufacturing and 24% - fabricated metal products manufacturing.
The Longview area has an excellent educational system producing quality talent every year. High schools in the Longview Labor Market graduate 6,900 students annually. Approximately 47% of area graduates move directly into the job market upon graduation. The remaining, often attend one of the many area institutions of higher learning. Fifteen colleges and universities are located within the area and have an average annual enrollment of 50,000--providing an additional resource of qualified applicants.
Area colleges and universities work with industry by developing internship and work-study programs. The Longview Economic Development Corporation is providing significant leadership through the Human Resource Alliance for Workforce Excellence. It was formed in 2002 to identify employer needs and work through regional resources to augment the workforce size, improve workforce quality and improve employee-employer matching services.
A Ready Workforce
The Longview region has a number of underemployed workers that can be utilized for new job creation. A study conducted by The Patfinders indicates that there are approximately 46,100 underemployed people in the Longview region. Of these individuals, nearly 30% have some college and 20% have earned college degrees. Sixty-nine percent of those determined underemployed fell in the 18-40-age range.
A Right to Work State
Because Texas is a right-to-work state, employees cannot be forced to join or not to join, nor pay dues to a labor union as a requirement for employment. Texas, one of 22 right-to-work states, has low union membership compared to its neighbors. With less than 2% union membership, Longview falls far below the state average. Compared with its neighbors, Texas has a fairly low union representation rate of 4.5%. According to the Department of Labor, Arkansas has a rate of 5.9%, Louisiana - 4.6%, and Oklahoma - 6.6%.
Workforce Solutions East Texas
In its new 27,000 square foot facility, the Workforce Solutions East Texas (ETWC) functions as a one-stop shop designed to meet the needs of its clients. Employers are able to benefit from the ETWC in the following ways:
East Texas Workforce Solutions Employer Services
Customized Training Programs
Texas State Technical College (TSTC)
Texas State Technical College provides customized training programs incorporating the employer’s goals and objectives. TSTC also handles the administrative aspects of The Skills Development Fund. The Skills Development Fund assists businesses and labor unions by designing, financing, and implementing customized job-training programs in partnership with public community and technical colleges for new or existing jobs in local businesses. This fund successfully merges business needs and local job training opportunities into a winning formula for people to work. For more information about how TSTC can help you call, 903-923-3401.
Kilgore College Workforce Development Department
The Kilgore College Workforce Development Department offers a wide range of customized education and training programs including pre-employment screening, job profiling, needs assessments, credit and non-credit programs, industry-specific technical training at any level, industrial start-up and expansion projects, skill upgrades, professional development opportunities, on-site or off-site training, and job placement assistance. Every program created by Kilgore College Workforce Development is a unique, customized response to each company’s specific needs. KC Workforce Development’s customer-directed, industry-driven approach provides a business with affordable solutions for skills training. For more information contact Martha Woodruff, Director of Workforce Development, 903-983-8287.