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Iowa Skillshed Analysis

A Skillshed is the geographic area from which a region pulls its workforce and the skills, education, and experience that the workforce possesses.  Traditionally, labor markets have been studied in terms of the products produced by a region to understand what industries are relatively strong.  A Skillshed helps to understand not only where the region’s competitive strengths currently lie, by understanding the current workforce mix, but also in which occupations or industries could the region grow into by understanding the difference between the current skill set and that skill set needed by emerging markets. 

The current skill set of a region is measured by translating the current jobs held by the workforce into a set of knowledge levels and work activities. Location quotients are also performed by occupational category to understand the current strengths of the region.  By clustering the skill set of the current workforce, we identify the emerging occupational categories that are statistically closest in skills and education.  It is into these categories that a region will be able to transition most effectively and efficiently. 

The need for a Skillshed lies in the ability to match the current skills of the workforce with the skills needed in high-growth, high-pay jobs and to do so in the most efficient way possible.  This is possible because the Skillshed matches the skills of the current workforce with the closest cluster of emerging occupations.  In this way, a region can prepare for future occupational needs but do so spending the least amount of resources and placing fewer educational demands on its workforce.

The Skillshed brings together and analyzes information from three different sources; current Laborshed Survey data, the Regional Workforce Needs Assessment (Job Vacancy) Survey data, and information from the Occupational Information Network (O*NET).  These three sources are used to present the supply and demand for labor within the region and the skills required to perform an occupation.  


Iowa Skillshed Analysis Introduction & Methodology Brochure

Example of Skillshed Analysis



Skills Gap, Skillshed Analysis

Skillshed Analysis Guide Cover

Guide to Identifying Your Workforce Skills


For further information contact:
Regional Research & Analysis Bureau
Iowa Workforce Development
Telephone: (515) 281-7547
Fax:  (515) 281-9656


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