“Bring sexy back.”

Those famous Justin Timberlake lyrics were thrown around several times at a forum discussing workforce shortages and talent attraction and retention.

There’s still a labor shortage in Hampton Roads and without diversification in the economy and less dependence on the defense industry, growing companies won’t be able to find adequately talented and skilled employees. That’s according to a new six-month study on workforce shortages and talent alignment released by the Hampton Roads Community Foundation and Hampton Roads Workforce Council.

The 2019 Talent Alignment Strategy has three parts: a workforce analysis, supply-demand analysis and talent alignment strategy.

Some of the report’s key findings echo many of those that have been conducted in the region. The region’s strengths lie in its expansion of career pathway programs, the variety of post-secondary education program and an increase in educational attainment. But its weaknesses are a modest population growth, talent retention, no strong regional branding, and disparities in regional education resources.

The study was conducted by the Council for Adult and Experiential Learning or CAEL in Chicago and Avalanche Consulting Inc. in Austin. Researchers presented the main findings of the study Tuesday morning at an “Understanding Hampton Roads” forum hosted at the Chesapeake Conference Center. More than 400 local business leaders attended the forum.

A panel of local business and education leaders discussed how the findings affect Hampton Roads following a presentation of the study’s results.

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Hampton Roads Talent Alignment Strategy Reports are available for download below:

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View the Hampton Roads Talent Alignment Strategy HERE