As our economic landscape rapidly evolves, the success of any region or community hinges on its ability to develop and maintain a skilled, educated workforce that aligns with the needs of local employers and industries. The intersection of economic development and workforce development is found within the ability for entrepreneurship (ESOs) and business support organizations (BSOs) to assist small businesses in finding and acquiring local talent. It’s a critical synergy that fosters economic growth, job creation, and long-term prosperity. This blog post explores the key connections between these two essential areas and the strategies that can be implemented to build a robust talent pool that meets the demands of a dynamic economy.

Why do small businesses need assistance finding local talent? Because it plays a pivotal role in ecosystem building and economic development. By facilitating connections between small businesses and the skilled workforce within their communities, BSOs and ESOs strengthen the local ecosystem. When small businesses can access the right talent locally, they are better positioned to thrive and grow, leading to increased job opportunities and economic expansion. Moreover, nurturing local talent ensures a sustainable and resilient talent pool, reducing the reliance on external recruitment and contributing to a more self-sustaining regional economy. Additionally, when small businesses flourish and create quality jobs, they become attractive prospects for further investment, encouraging both new entrepreneurs and established companies to set up operations in the area. In this way, the efforts of BSOs and ESOs to connect small businesses with local talent fuel a virtuous cycle of economic development, fostering community prosperity and long-term success.

Aligning Workforce Training and Education with Industry Demands

One of the central aspects of the intersection between economic and workforce development is the alignment of workforce training and education programs with the evolving skill needs of local industries. This encompasses various initiatives, such as vocational and technical training, community college courses, and career education in K-12 schools. By catering educational programs to the growth sectors and employers in the region, individuals are better equipped with the skills and competencies needed to secure meaningful employment opportunities.

Building Partnerships for Skill Gap Analysis and Training Programs

Collaboration is a key driver of success in the realm of workforce and economic development. Partnerships between employers, educational institutions, workforce agencies, and economic development organizations facilitate comprehensive skill gap analyses. By identifying the areas where qualified workers are lacking, these stakeholders can then jointly develop training programs that bridge the gaps. The result is a well-prepared pipeline of talent that can fulfill the needs of local industries, attracting investment and spurring economic growth.

Upskilling and Retaining Incumbent Workers

In addition to cultivating new talent, the intersection of economic and workforce development also involves investing in existing human capital. Companies can retain and upskill their incumbent workers, enabling them to transition into new roles within the organization. This not only enhances employee retention rates but also equips businesses with a flexible and agile workforce, allowing them to adapt to changing market conditions and capitalize on emerging opportunities.

Attracting Talent from Outside the Region

A thriving regional economy requires a continuous influx of fresh perspectives and diverse skill sets. To attract talent from outside the region, concerted efforts must be made to market job opportunities effectively. Utilizing targeted recruitment strategies and providing support with relocation can be crucial in enticing skilled workers to invest their talents in the local economy. By embracing diversity and expanding the talent pool, regions can foster innovation and drive economic competitiveness.

Empowering Unemployed and Underemployed Residents

A strong focus on workforce development involves providing equal opportunities for all residents, including those who are unemployed or underemployed. By connecting these individuals with job opportunities, relevant training programs, and support services, workforce development initiatives empower them to acquire the skills necessary to meet the demands of area employers. This inclusive approach not only benefits individuals seeking economic stability but also contributes to a more robust and resilient local workforce.

Enhancing the Community through Local Talent

The impact of connecting small businesses with local talent goes beyond economic growth; it directly empowers and enhances the local community in several profound ways. When small businesses hire from within the community, it creates a sense of ownership and pride among residents. Local employees often develop a strong attachment to their jobs and the companies they work for, fostering a tight-knit and supportive community spirit.

Moreover, employing local talent bolsters the area’s socio-economic fabric by reducing unemployment rates and providing individuals with meaningful job opportunities. This, in turn, lowers the strain on social welfare programs and reduces income inequality, leading to a more inclusive and equitable society.

Strengthening the Region’s Economic Conditions

Ultimately, the success of both economic and workforce development hinges on the overall strength and competitiveness of the region’s economy. Policies and investments that promote business growth, enhance infrastructure, and foster innovation are vital components of this holistic approach. By creating an environment that supports entrepreneurship and attracts investment, regions can stimulate job creation and cultivate a sustainable economic expansion.


The intersection of economic development and workforce development represents a harmonious collaboration that drives local prosperity and sustainability. By cultivating relevant skills and human capital within the region, while simultaneously attracting external talent and supporting the needs of businesses, BSOs and ESOs can help communities forge a path towards long-term economic growth. The mutual goal is to bridge the gap between talent supply and demand, fostering a thriving ecosystem that benefits individuals, businesses, and the community as a whole. By investing in the development of local people and matching them with suitable opportunities, regions can unlock their full potential and secure a prosperous future.

We held an EIC Discussion Series webinar to discuss NEW BOOST™ for Hidden Talent, a collaboration helping the BIPOC community gain digital skills and meaningful employment. The webinar highlighted lessons learned from this workforce development initiative powered by Microsoft, the Bay Area Workforce Development Board, and New North. Listen here to gain access to the insightful discussion on empowering unemployed and underemployed individuals, an issue located right at the intersection of workforce and economic development.

About EIC

At Economic Impact Catalyst, our mission is to activate a world where there is equitable and inclusive access to entrepreneurship. We believe that entrepreneurship is the key to equitable and inclusive economic development. Our team’s main focus every day is to make it easier for founders to launch businesses in order to create wealth for themselves, for their teams, and for their communities. To learn more about our technology and market research solutions, built exclusively to catalyze entrepreneurship-led economic development efforts, book a call with us today.