MERIC Recognized for Excellence in Economic Development Research
On May 20, 2010 economic development professionals from across the U.S. assembled at the Council for Community and Economic Research (C2ER) annual conference in Washington DC to recognize excellence in economic development research work done by their peers.
The C2ER awards program recognizes the contribution of research activities to the success of local, regional, or state economic development initiatives. The purpose of the award is to increase the quality of economic development research by identifying meritorious projects and promoting the diffusion of creative ideas for research activities.
Projects were judged on their contributions to the economic development research field, innovativeness in approach, implementation or collaborative efforts, responsiveness to customer needs, and benefits resulting from project implementation.
The Missouri Economic Research and Information Center (MERIC) was recognized with an award for excellence in data collection and dissemination efforts for the Missouri Green Jobs Report.
The Missouri Green Jobs Report constituted Missouri’s first survey of green-identified employers and quantified the number of green jobs in the state. In addition, the report focused on the number and characteristics of green occupations in Missouri including the in-demand skill sets required for maintaining a just-in-time talent pipeline for green industry sectors. A complimentary video highlighting Missouri green employers was also developed and disseminated to the public via public access television and YouTube.
A current lack of nationally standardized definitions of green industries and occupations has allowed different studies to produce slightly different estimates of the green economy for each state. The ability to collect primary data from Missouri employers was crucial toward understanding the green economy due to the impossibility of producing accurate employment estimates with existing information sources. This study estimated the number of green jobs in the Missouri economy via an employer survey. The survey was conducted in the third quarter of 2009 by the Missouri Economic Research and Information Center, the research arm of the Missouri Department of Economic Development in collaboration with the University of Missouri – Columbia, Center for Advanced Social Research.
Specifically, the researchers felt that it was important to analyze the share of employment within green industries that was directly tied to the green economy in Missouri. The survey was also critical toward understanding employer expectations for future employment, green-specific skill sets, wages offered, and methods utilized for employee training. Most importantly, the survey allowed employers to classify their workers by primary and support green employment to distinguish between those jobs whose primary functions are tied to the new green economy.
The information in the report has been critically important for informing policy makers about the need to align workforce development efforts with education and training offerings in order to meet the demands of Missouri’s growing green industry sectors. Specifically, early results from the report played a critical role in the application of several competitive American Recovery and Reinvestment Act green jobs training grants for the state of Missouri, two of which have already been awarded (Missouri Labor Market Information Improvement Grant & Missouri State Energy Sector Partnership Grant). Efforts are currently underway to provide regional green research grants to local areas in Missouri, under the LMI Improvement Grant, to allow local economic and workforce developers to take the results generated from the Missouri Green Jobs Survey to develop local strategies to engage local green industry in conversations about how to meet the current and future demand for 21st green jobs.
To read the report visit:http://www.missourieconomy.org/occupations/green_report.stm