COVID-19 Workforce Development Roundtable

In April, EconoVue™ and Dun &Bradstreet hosted a virtual roundtable with California workforce board personnel.  We wanted to create a collaborative forum for Workforce professionals to share new ideas, practices and resources focused on their outreach and response strategies triggered by COVID and COVID-related workforce risks.


We heard from Workforce Development Boards (WDBs) representing different regions across the state and serving vastly diverse types of employer clientele.  Roundtable participants zeroed in on two main themes and shared their ideas in adapting to new employer engagement activities:  Communication and Innovation:


  • Challenges in effectively communicating with employers was the dominant concern across local workforce boards, specifically:
    • Identifying small business employers who are reducing staff but not filing WARN notices
    • Shifting from a paper-reliant communication process to digital and web-hosted content for employers
    • Identifying and engaging employers who:
      1. are in the most COVID-impacted industries, or
      2. are actually actively hiring right now

Multiple workforce boards shared their success practices in using EconoVue™ to target specific industry groups for proactive outreach and how they are using EconoVue™ cluster mapping to identify businesses and industry segments who are actively hiring.  Once identified in either group, workforce boards are using the business-specific contact data in ProspectVue™ to contact those employers about support resources, Rapid Response and for hiring opportunities.

  • Employer furloughs, layoffs, staff reduction and shortened operating hours make it difficult for workforce boards to connect directly with employers.  Creative communication tactics included:
    • Combining employers into larger groups for weekly Rapid Response webinars
    • Taking advantage of Employment Development Department (CA EDD) videos that are already translated into several languages
    • Coordinating and sharing resources within larger WDB regions.
    • Posting current job listings on the WDB websites alongside other crisis resources.
  • The presenters noted some low- or no-cost marketing tools used by other workforce boards, including library newsletters, CalJOBS emails, Community College newsletters, local newspaper reporting, America’s Job Center of California communication channels, segments on local news channels and of course, various social media options like Facebook, Instagram, Eventbrite, Nextdoor.


  • Virtual Job Fairs – The team at a Silicon Valley WDB recently partnered with local City College to host their first Virtual Job Fair. Business Development staff shared details and lessons learned about the experience, specifically:
    • The team’s strategy for organizing the employers, selecting the targeted industries and the interested job seekers.
    • How EconoVue™ was used to identify and contact the hiring companies within the targeted industry clusters.
    • The web-based meeting solutions that worked and what they would improve on next time.
    • Registration and post-event communication strategies and useful marketing tools available.
    • Resoundingly positive results for employers and job seekers, including some job offers immediately issued to job fair participants!
  • YouTube Videos – A Business Development Specialist from a Central Coast WDB shared a particular challenge facing her agency: effectively sharing resource availability information with the high number of small businesses that aren’t part of the WARN system and don’t receive traditional Rapid Response support.  Their solution?  She and the WDB team moved their Rapid Response information to YouTube where it found a wider audience.
  • Small Business Hot Lines –  The Capital Region shared their approach to reach a broad audience of small businesses not already connected to their WDB – they created a special hot line where these companies can connect with someone who speaks their language to learn more about the available resources, and enlisted the collaborative support from the Chamber of Commerce and other community partners to spread the word about the hot line.
  • Work Share Update – A Regional Advisor with the EDD shared several online resources (contact us for the full list of resource links), and notably mentioned that Work Share will be moving to an online application process within the next month. 
  • Regional Strategies – In another innovative approach to outreach, another Capital Region Workforce Board has been working in concert with the California Labor Federation, various unions and EDD to create region-wide outreach efforts to communicate effectively with larger employee groups.

We host these recurring roundtables and best practices workshops for our EconoVue™ users.  If you would like to attend, participate or be a featured speaker in a future session, please let us know, or drop us a note with your own question or innovative best practice for workforce development and we’ll work it into a future session.

Designed for and with workforce/economic development practitioners, EconoVue™ is the most intuitive data visualization and business outreach platform for dissecting and understanding the economy at the neighborhood, city, regional and national levels.  It combines GIS, visualization tools for regional industry sector trend analysis, business research tools, CRM employer outreach components and a layoff aversion module featuring filters for finding companies by financial health.  For more information please visit us at