To assist community colleges with strategic planning and program development, the Inland Empire/Desert Region Center of Excellence (COE) has released a workforce demand assessment highlighting high-quality job opportunities in the region. 

High-quality job opportunities are those that show strong employment demand and offer median hourly earnings above the state’s living wage standard. 

A key finding of the report is that approximately 45% of regional residents have a high school diploma or less, indicating an opportunity to expand career education (CE) program outreach. Over the next five years, the region is projected to have nearly 91,300 community-college-level annual job openings.

The COE recommends addressing educational attainment shortfalls in the region by expanding CE programs focused on high-quality job opportunities. 

Sectors with a high concentration of these job opportunities include:

  • Advanced Transportation & Logistics
  • Energy, Construction & Utilities
  • Business & Entrepreneurship

Supervisory and management positions within the advanced transportation and logistics sector pay relatively high wages and are particularly promising, with nearly 1,500 annual openings projected for first-line supervisors of transportation and material moving workers (except aircraft cargo handling supervisors) and 310 annual openings for transportation, storage, and distribution managers.

Regional construction employers are projected to add nearly 9,400 jobs (representing 6.6% growth) over the next five years. There are five high-quality construction occupations that present opportunities for regional community college program development: carpenters; glaziers; plumbers, pipefitters, and steamfitters; sheet metal workers; and structural iron and steel workers.

The business and entrepreneurship sector contains many high-quality job opportunities, most of which are currently trained by regional community college programs, such as general and operations managers. Through the expansion of program offerings, community colleges could provide training for an additional high-quality business and entrepreneurship occupation—claims adjusters, examiners, and investigators. 

In general, the occupations highlighted in the report may serve as a resource for community colleges that are calibrating existing or developing new CE programs to address regional workforce needs.