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Sample Employer Questions for a Green Sector Initiative

The following are some framing questions used in interviews with employers about the potential for the "green" sector in the Kansas City area.

The Vision and Environment

1. Do you believe that the greater Kansas City area has the ability and political will to become a nationally known “Green” city or region? Why or why not?

2. Do you have any personal interest in seeing this region become a center of excellence for green practices, products, and policies? How might that kind of reputation benefit you, your industry, and our community?

3. Can you think of a city or region somewhere in the country that you would consider a leader in “green”? What characteristics do they have that makes you think of them that way?

4. Who do you think are the most influential leaders in your industry, in greater Kansas City and nationally? What seems to be their personal driving vision or message? What kind of influence do they bring to the industry?

The Industry

5. What growth prospects do you think your industry overall (not just your firm) has in the greater Kansas City area?

a. What kinds of prospects? (prospects for growth in production; prospects for new/better products or new/ better technology; prospects for expanded markets, etc.)

b. Why makes you think those prospects exist?

c. What would most increase opportunities for the growth of your industry (not just your particular firm) in this community (e.g., legislative changes (if so – what), supplier availability (if so, what kind), market opportunities (if so, what in particular); skilled workforce availability; better means of transporting or delivering products and services, etc.).

d. What regional factors do you think most inhibit the capacity of your industry to grow and/or prosper in Kansas City?

e. If your industry had optimal conditions for growth – what other types of industries in the region would be most likely to benefit from your growth?

6. What are the top three things you would like the general public to know about your industry that you don’t think they currently know?

7. What are the “sleeping” threats to your industry that those outside the industry are unlikely to know about?

8. What are the sleeping opportunities for your industry that those outside the industry are unlikely to know about?

9. How did your particular firm come into being in this industry? (e.g., idea from a trade fair, financial incentive, family business connections, your personal interest, etc)

10. What peer groups do you have within your industry – formal trade associations, informal networks, personal friendships, etc.? By what means do you most usually exchange information with each other (e.g., e-mail, phone calls, weekly breakfast meetings, etc.). Do you think your current communication methods are the most optimal? How would you like to best interact with your peers for collaboration and peer learning?

11. Do you have any examples of ways you and your peers have teamed up together to solve some industry issue in the past (e.g., prohibitive legislation, lack of market recognition, joint training issues, etc.) If not, do you have any interest in collaborating with your peers to help grow the overall industry strength?

12. Who are the key organizations that make a difference to your industry’s health and growth (e.g., community colleges, non-profits, chambers of commerce, etc.)

Workforce Issues

13. What workforce issues are of greatest concern to your industry as a whole?

14. What kinds of workers do you in your firm employ now (job titles or skill types) and how many of each?

15. What kinds of certifications do they need (or should they be getting?)

16. What are the most severe workforce issues now, and in the long-term that may impact your growth, whether in your own firm, your industry overall, or even among your suppliers and related firms?

17. What role, if any, do you think business has to play in solving workforce problems?

18. If you could think of one core issue on the policy or systemic level to solve your industry’s workforce challenges, what would that be?

In Summary:

  • Is there anything about your industry or your firm in particular that I haven’t asked you that you think I should have?
  • Is there any data about your industry and the Kansas City region that you would like to have but don’t currently have access to? What kind of research would you like to see conducted that would be of most benefit to you?
  • What role, if any, are you willing to play to help grow Kansas City as a center of green excellence, and/or grow your industry in this region?
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