EDC of Lancaster County & The Steinman Foundation
The Economic Development Company of Lancaster County is the leading organization dedicated to promoting business development and expansion within Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. Fourth Economy has supported the EDC with workforce-related analysis and research on several occasions since 2017.
The Future of the Agricultural Workforce
Fourth Economy developed an approach to provide a better understanding of the workforce directly involved in ‘on the farm’ agriculture in Lancaster County, including seasonal and annual hired farmworkers whether U.S. citizens, foreign workers, or undocumented workers, as well as the key demographics. We developed a methodology to inform future data collection and analysis, as well as an explanation of data sources on the local, state and national level. The report provided a narrative detailing trends in the local agricultural workforce, informed by findings in the data, and insights from interviews with farmers, agricultural support organizations, and academics.
The Future of the Manufacturing Workforce
Fourth Economy examined the occupational profile and workforce demographics of the manufacturing workforce in the 5-county region, as well as projections of industry growth and demand for labor. We found that the region’s population is growing, but it is growing older, creating more competition for a shrinking pool of talent entering manufacturing. The region’s manufacturing sector has been growing slowly, with a transition from a group of larger, declining sectors to smaller growing sectors – that are growing fast enough to make up for the losses in other industries. Regional manufacturers need to hire and replace 13,300 workers by 2026 – the GDP represented by these workers amounts to more than $1.4 billion.
Better Understanding the Workforce Development System
In order to establish more effective strategies to support workforce development, the EDC and its partner, the Steinman Foundation, were looking for a clear understanding how much public workforce funding the County was receiving, which organizations administered which programs, and what the impact of that funding was. Fourth Economy utilized reviews of federal audit information and IRS Form 990 data, as well as interviews with state agencies and local stakeholders to develop a clear picture of the workforce development system. We prioritized those state and federal funding streams which comprised approximately 80% of total funding for the County. For each, the final report describes the stated goal of the program, target population, type of training supported, organizations that receive the funding, and, when outcome data was available, the results of the program. We utilized graphics to help convey key points about the amount, type, and outcome of workforce funding. The STEM Alliance utilized our findings to facilitate a series of conversations in the County about the state of the workforce development system, and to rally stakeholders to develop a shared and strategic approach to serving the County's unemployed and under-employed.