By Staff Reports
(Victorville) — The 2016 High Desert Economic Summit is shaping up to be a must-attend event packed full of local economic information. What is really going to set this Summit apart is the results of a major study undertaken by the City of Hesperia’s Economic Development Department. Completed over the course of nearly six months, the analysis, incorporates verifiable and credible workforce statistics sources that paints an interesting picture of the High Desert’s workforce.
Generally, workforce and economic development professionals will use state data to compile statistics on a regional level. The problem is that most “local area” data are included into what is known as a Metropolitan Statistical Area or MSA. The five incorporated High Desert communities reside within the San Bernardino-Riverside-Ontario MSA. “What it means is that our communities are lumped in with other, larger cities such as San Bernardino, Rancho Cucamonga, Ontario, and Riverside,” says James Johnson, Director of Grants Development and Contract Education at Victor Valley College. “It is a challenge for us as workforce developers to dial in what is really going on here in our own backyard because trying to benchmark Victorville to say, Riverside or even Rancho, is not an apples-to-apples comparison. This study is going to help us tremendously.”
The 50-plus page document covers localized topics such as:
– Population numbers and distribution
– Percentage of “Active Workers” in the area
– Workforce patterns broken out by industry sector
– Largest employers and major industries
– Profiles of the High Desert’s incorporated cities
Perhaps the most anticipated component of the study will reveal exactly how many residents of the High Desert commute out of the region for work. Lisa LaMere, Economic Development Management Analyst for Hesperia, said, “There hasn’t been a regional workforce report since 1995 as to how many commuters are driving down the hill. We now have that number, which will be revealed at the Summit.” Commuting patterns are important because they represent the leakage of top talent out of the High Desert. In addition to the number of commuters, the report also maps the workplace area of those commuters. Ms. LaMere adds, “Ultimately, we hope that the data in this report provides a foundation for more deliberation and the motivation for regional stakeholder participation to address any workforce challenges.”
The High Desert Economic Summit event, presented by Desert Valley Hospital, will be held on May 5th at the Hilton Garden Conference Center on Mariposa Road in Victorville from 8am to 12pm. Everyone in attendance will receive a portfolio containing this one-of-a-kind study. Please visit www.highdeserteconomicsummit.com for more information.
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