By John Rees
In 2013, the Kerrville Economic Development Corporation approached Avalanche with a dilemma. Kerrville’s efforts to recruit new businesses were often thwarted by perceptions that the city’s workforce was not sufficiently skilled. In truth, however, Kerrville’s population was extremely well educated. How could Kerrville demonstrate to outside companies that the community could meet their workforce requirements?
Identifying the city’s labor shed was the key to uncovering Kerrville’s true labor prowess. Kerrville is located approximately 65 miles northwest of downtown San Antonio. A significant number of Kerrville residents, especially the city’s professional class, are employed in the San Antonio suburbs. Additionally, many residents of suburban San Antonio are located within commuting distance of Kerrville. Notably, traditional measures of Kerrville’s labor force do not account for either type of worker.
Working with the client, Avalanche Consulting developed a sophisticated labor shed profile that incorporated commuting patterns, employment dynamics, and population traits. Avalanche then examined the resulting workforce characteristics and crafted a labor profile more aligned with Kerrville’s on-the-ground reality. Avalanche also provided in-depth examinations of Kerrville’s major occupations, including manufacturing, distribution and logistics, and office administration.
The differences between Kerrville’s perceived workforce and its true workforce were striking. College educational attainment levels weren’t just on par with that of Texas, but instead 40% higher. The size of Kerrville’s labor shed was no longer measured in the thousands but rather the hundreds of thousands. Ultimately, metrics such as these help Kerrville provide prospective companies with a more comprehensive portrait of the community.
Kerrville’s situation is not unique. The skills available in a community’s workforce often exceed those observed among local employers. Many bedroom communities outside of major metropolitan areas, for example, are home to extremely skilled workers employed in neighboring jurisdictions. In other communities, the quirks of political boundaries may obscure the dynamism of a community’s workforce. In both instances, traditional labor shed analyses examinations may entirely miss critical populations. Contact us to learn how Avalanche Consulting can help uncover critical labor advantages in your community.