Bridging the Skills Gap: Components of Community Action

The Components of Community Action

An effective community-based approach involves the right parties at the table including leaders and community stakeholders engaging in a tailored community planning process that is geared to the current/projected needs of local industries and occupations, be they in agriculture, manufacturing, healthcare or other areas.


Leaders are individuals who have the courage to take on hot workforce issues, bring people together, encourage and facilitate broad community participation, and keep the effort focused. Leaders could be company CEOs concerned about their inability to fill in-demand positions, or education/community leaders with the goal to foster economic development and quality of life through improved workforce skills. Leadership is not static; the collaborative planning process fosters new leadership and enhances leadership capacity through new knowledge/skills gained as people and organizations work together.


Given the breadth of activities encompassing the workforce arena, some of the important stakeholders involved (those with expertise, decision-making power and who will be most affected by local decision making) are these:

‘Building the Bridge’ Community Planning Process

An effective workforce planning process involves multiple steps

Extension Community Development

The U.S. land grant Extension system can add significant value to the community workforce planning process in rural communities in two important ways. First, Extension experts can play a role to get the conversation started by convening the critical stakeholders and facilitating the Building the Bridge process. Second, Community Development specialists and subject matter experts can provide leadership training to enhance the skills and capacity of local leaders to identify issues and take action. With these approaches, Extension Community Development can strengthen the foundation of the local workforce system through enhanced collaborative and leadership capacity.


Understanding the Problem
Project Overview
Community Process & Collaboration
•  Components of Community Action
•  Critical Role for Industry
•  Building the Bridge Process
•  Take Action
Importance of Labor Market Data
Promising Practices
Bridging the Skills Gap Team