How to Find Your Region’s In-Demand Occupations

Published on Mar 6, 2019

Updated on Nov 3, 2022

Written by Emsi Burning Glass

How to Find Your Region’s In-Demand Occupations

As a workforce development professional, understanding in-demand occupations in your region is of paramount importance for how you train jobseekers. In fact, the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) requires workforce development boards to pull annual in-demand occupation reports to determine what occupations are eligible to be funded through the Adult, Dislocated Worker and Youth programs.

For this reason, workforce training dollars can only be used to train clients seeking employment in those in-demand occupations. We know that a lot can ride on the decisions that are made around in-demand occupations. We also know that this isn’t an easy task and can take a lot of thought and preparation.

Luckily, Emsi has built an occupation report that helps workforce development boards pull in-demand occupations with flexibility, ease, and understanding.

Watch this quick how-to video on how you can take a once daunting task and figure out in-demand occupations in your region with confidence:

Tips and tricks from our workforce development specialist, Connie Sharp:

Connie Sharp

  • Consider using Emsi’s staffing pattern report to find relevant occupations within broad industries. For example, if you are only looking at the healthcare industry, you will want to make sure you capture the cooks, engineers, and janitors that are working within your regional hospitals. However, if you have well-defined industry or occupation clusters, Emsi makes this an easy place to start where you can dive deep into specific in-demand occupations. 

  • Pulling in the right data to prioritize your in-demand occupations is key. Our video highlighted just a few. We recommend you select:

    • Start year and end year

    • Jobs change and the job change percentage

    • All options under openings: all openings, replacement jobs, and replacement rate

    • Median hourly earnings

    • Typical entry level education

  • Set your timeline for five years in the future to get a good view of your planning term and to smooth out any spikes or valleys that may occur. Yes, Emsi provides projections that you can count on, so you are no longer making in-demand occupation decisions on historical or outdated data. Workforce boards are required to do a five year strategic plan with updates every two years. This planning period allows you to adjust programming if the economy changes.

  • Once you have your filtered list of occupations, use your knowledge of the area to remove occupations that do not align with your funding or strategies.

Connie Sharp began her career with Emsi in January 2017 after spending 13 years as an Emsi user. She became a certified grant writer in 2003, a certified Emsi user in May 2014, and a Certified Workforce Development Professional in July 2015. With 15 years of workforce experience, she specializes in providing oversight, coordination, technical assistance, and direction for workforce development clients. In 2019, Connie was named the Unsung Hero for customer service by Workforce Solutions for Tarrant County.


If you have any questions on how to find your region’s in-demand occupations, please contact us.