About EcoDevo 101: The practice of economic development is vital to the advancement of any thriving community. It is also often misunderstood. In this series, we’ll dig deeper into the topics that underpin the profession, from public policy and mobility to technology and community planning, among many others.

Successful companies all have one thing in common: They understand that their success depends on the people they hire. From the CEO to the janitor, a company is only as good as its workforce.

Once a company begins to grow quickly, finding and recruiting a trained workforce can be an extensive and prolonged process. To meet their growth needs, companies often locate regions where a deep pool of talent exists which they can tap into as they strive to meet the needs of their customers. Finding employees that have the right technical, executive, and customer service skills necessary to create, sell, and service the products is a challenge companies face every day. Not to mention that they are competing with other businesses to recruit and retain those employees.

However, talent differs from region to region and city to city. Because of this, companies must identify what type of employees they need and where they can find them. Depending on a company’s product or service, they usually start researching a state’s or city’s population demographics, specifically the level of educational attainment across the workforce-age population. Digging deeper, a company looks at the type of workforce already existing in a region – for example, are there already a sizeable number of engineers, or software designers, or assembly-line workers – that make it easier to recruit. Likewise, proximity of other industries in the region with similar types of skill needs will also make it easier to hire.

In addition to an existing pool of talent, companies also care about their future workforce, or the workforce pipeline. Workforce pipeline refers to the number of individuals who will be trained and prepared to be future hires as the company continues growing. This can include the number of students graduating from local high schools, the number of community college and four-year college graduates in the region, or the number of individuals receiving certificates in certain disciplines. People who are prepared – through education, training, or previous experience – to be a productive worker and deliver value to the company.

Denver South’s workforce and industries are well-defined, making it easy for companies to determine if the region is a good fit for its hiring needs. Here are just a few regional highlights:

  • 241,600 people are employed in the region – more than 14 percent of the Metro Denver workforce
  • 63 percent have a bachelor’s degree or higher; compared to the 40 percent statewide
  • Industries
    • Aerospace – 19percent of total Front Range employment
    • Broadband & Digital Communications – 46 percent of the metro region’s employment
    • Engineering Services – highest concentration of engineers in the top 50 U.S. metros
    • Financial Services – 33,500 employees and 32 percent of the metro region’s employment
    • Healthcare – more than double the annual growth rate of the U.S.
    • IT: Software and Electronics – nearly 25 percent of the metro region’s employment