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2020: The Role of Local Economic Development Agencies

Co-Learning Plan (2020)

Authors: Randy Yagiela


The talent disruption experienced by local communities is the number one economic development challenge of our time. Some of the causes of the disruption include a steady decline of the birth rate since 1957, rising boomer retirement rates predicted to grow until 2034, and substance abuse rates devastating the workplace and home. Others cite different contributing causes including low state levels of certifications in skills, a lack of vocational ladders, employees’ work ethic, and a lack of old school human resource departments that focused more on career development. This project was to share talent pipeline strategies with other Michigan communities, and learn from them, with a goal of understanding what it takes to build a sustainable, local talent system. This project demonstrated how local economic development agencies can lead on partnerships with k-12 schools, colleges, employers, and other community stakeholders to solve their talent disruption. The work is rooted in the belief that interdependence, the sharing of not just operational but strategic outcomes, is critical to building sustainable change. 
Local economic development agencies sit exactly in a position between employers who demand skills and educational suppliers who deliver education and training to our workforce and students.  Local economic agencies are neutral parties who can induce a new connective and unified strategy. Sharing the information on how to build this unification reduces the learning curves for all Michigan communities.  

Author Information

Randy YagielaRandy Yagiela
Randy has been engaged in workforce and economic development since 1990. His grant awards since 2011 total $5.6 million, supporting local workforce training, local business growth, or economic development programs. As the Director of Align Lenawee, his responsibilities include driving local talent pipeline building and deployment. He was excited to work with the center to further share and learn more about sustaining local economies.