Workforce Development for Economic Developers Part 8: Example of a Target Cluster Profile

Workforce Development for Economic Developers

Part 8: Example of a Target Cluster Profile

Based on our site selection experiences and inputs from other site consultants, Smart Solutions Group has developed a Skills Ready Profile. The Profile is a marketing document that provides information on the availability of skilled labor and the costs of labor in a regional labor market. To determine the labor market, commuting pattern information from the U.S. Census Bureau and/or your state government is used. Information for the Profile can be update on a quarterly or annual basis.

The following highlights some of the information that is in a Skills Ready Profile:

  • Total Workforce: This section provides a brief overview of the regional labor market and it typically includes information on:
  • Historical Employment Growth
  • Industry Mix – number of jobs in the largest industry sectors
  • Median Earnings per Worker

The following are examples of some of the exhibits that may be  included in this section of the Profile.


  • Target Cluster Workforce: For a region’s target cluster, the Profile contains the following historical information:
  • Employment Growth
  • Earnings per Worker
  • Largest Industries – current employment, growth in employment, and earnings per worker
  • Largest Occupations – jobs and wages

The following are examples of the exhibits that are in this section of the Profile:



  • Employment and Wages by Occupation: For all of the applicable occupations in the Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) System that are in each cluster, the following are presented for the labor market:
  • Current Employment
  • Median Hourly Wage Comparison – labor market compared to the state and nation
  • Median Wage by Percentile – labor market wages for the 25th, 50th, and 75th percentiles
  • Number of Workers with Compatible Skills – for each occupation, the number of workers in the cluster that have skills equal to or greater than those required for the occupation based on the WorkKeys skills that are in the National Career Readiness Certificate

The following is an example of some of the over 100 production SOC occupations that are included in a Skills Ready Profile for Advanced Manufacturing.



  • Education and Training – To show employers and site consultants that the labor market has a pipeline for the development of skilled workers, the Profile contains information on the educational systems and institutions as well as the formal training programs that are available in the labor market. Some of the items that may be included in this section are:
  • High School Graduation Rate – comparison of labor market high school graduation rates with the state and national rates
  • College Entrance Examination Scores – comparison of the labor market scores on the ACT and SAT exams with the state and the nation
  • Completions – the number of degrees and certificates that are awarded to students by post-secondary institutions in the labor market for programs that will prepare them for careers in the target cluster
  • Training Programs – brief description of training programs that are available in the state

The following shows a couple exhibits for this section, which includes one exhibit with information on community college completions in programs that prepare students for careers in Advanced Manufacturing.


The following are the ways that economic developers have used the Profile:

  1. Companies being recruited to the area can determine the availability of skilled labor and the wages for the jobs they plan for their new operation.
  2. Local companies in your target sectors can see if your labor market has the skilled labor they need for expansion.
  3. Local companies can compare their wages with the wages paid by all companies in the cluster that are located in the labor market.
  4. The wage information can be used by entrepreneurs in setting wages for their start-up businesses.
  5. Economic developers can use this information in their interviews with local employers in helping them determine the cause(s) of the difficulties in hiring skilled workers such as the lack of skilled workers in the labor market or the employer’s wages are below average or other factors.


In Part 9, we will show a competitive analysis of the skilled labor in Finance and Insurance for six metropolitan areas that includes a ranking of these six metros based on 10 workforce criteria. If you have questions or comments or questions about the Profile or any other workforce topic, e-mail them to Ed Andrews at

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