The Central Arizona Regional Economic Development Foundation has initiated a study to determine the current state of its work force in areas such as capability, general industry knowledge and level of education in the communities of Casa Grande, Coolidge, Eloy and Maricopa.

The study, to be based on community feedback through surveys and responses from employers, will provide results that offer insight into central and western Pinal County’s workforce demographics and employment status, and how they have changed as a result of the region’s rapid population growth in recent years. Surveys will be available between May 30 and June 3 at various local establishments including Ace Hardware, Albertson’s, Food Town IGA, Shope’s IGA, Sunstate Bank and Wal-Mart Supercenter.

“Pinal County is a rich and diverse area, growing at a pace which is exceptional,” said Paul Ringer, CAREDF executive director. “This study will give us a snapshot of our workforce that will ultimately lead to the attraction and development of new employment opportunities.”

Special focus groups within the survey will examine industry-specific fields including manufacturing, distribution and technology. These groups, to be comprised of 10 or fewer individuals, will represent a broad range of employers in each given category to ensure accurate and conclusive results.

The survey should also provide insight as to what industry fields central and western Pinal County residents are properly prepared for, and where they could benefit from increased education, curriculum and training programs.

In a similar study conducted in 2004, surveys offered valuable insight in a number of areas. Significant findings included a desire for more job opportunities within Pinal County, as findings indicated that more than 83 percent of those working outside of the county would gladly accept a comparable job closer to home.

Findings from the 2004 survey also indicated that newcomers to the region were more likely to have earned a Bachelor’s degree or higher, indicating a need to attract more white-collar positions such as medical and educational services.

In addition to providing results such as these, the current study will help strengthen the market place in years to come by ensuring a capable and educated work force.

Findings will indicate what fields are likely to require more training in the region, which will help ensure workplace productivity and minimize the possibility of technology skill gaps by providing increased training in necessary areas.

Expected to cost $50,500, funded with additional support through Central Arizona College, APS and Reliant Grant funds, the survey will encompass more than 1,350 households over the span of 10 to 12 weeks.

Once completed, findings will be available for distribution and display as deemed appropriate by the Central Arizona Regional Economic Development Foundation.

CAREDF (formerly known as Greater Casa Grande Valley Economic Development Foundation) is a public/private collaboration that is focused on attracting quality companies and jobs to Pinal County and to the communities of Casa Grande, Coolidge, Eloy and Maricopa.

For more information on the market analysis, please contact Gina Kramer at (520)836-6868.

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