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Labor Pool vs Talent Pool: Gathering Industrial Skill Requirements in Rural Areas

Presented by: Myra Wi8lson and Frank Gibson (The Ohio State University)

Closing the skills gap in rural areas takes an understanding of the dramatic changes occurring in manufacturing today.  Unskilled laborers with little or no training are facing more sophisticated factory environments where robots perform routine, manual labor.  Employers require semi- and high-skilled technicians who can repair, install, and program the automated equipment, but that talent pool is sparse.  The dilemma for training and education professionals is to convert the labor pool into the talent pool to meet the immediate needs of workers and employers.  This webinar will explain the talent pool funnel and describe the steps the Alber Enterprise Center is taking to gather workforce data from employers through a collaboration with rural economic development offices, manufacturers, and educational institutions.

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About the Extension Foundation

The Extension Foundation was formed in 2006 by Extension Directors and Administrators. Today, the Foundation partners with Cooperative Extension through liaison roles and a formal plan of work with the Extension Committee on Organization and Policy (ECOP) to increase system capacity while providing programmatic services, and helping Extension programs scale and investigate new methods and models for implementing programs. The Foundation provides professional development to Cooperative Extension professionals and offers exclusive services to its members. In 2020 and 2021, the Extension Foundation has awarded 85% of its direct funding back to the Cooperative Extension System, 100% of funds are used to support Cooperative Extension initiatives. 

This technology is supported in part by New Technologies for Agriculture Extension grant no. 2020-41595-30123 from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture and membership funding. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in the content are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. For more information, please visit You can view the terms of useat

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