City Council Meeting - FINAL

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Meeting Date: 09/19/2023  
From: John Saltonstall, Business Retention & Expansion Manager

Consideration and Approval of Contract:  Approve contract with Keen Independent Research LLC in an amount not to exceed $125,000 for the outreach, development, and delivery of a comprehensive Workforce Development Analysis. 
  1. Approve this contract as written to initiate the efforts required for the workforce analysis.
  2. Authorize the City Manager to execute the necessary documents.
Executive Summary:
The City of Flagstaff has a need for a Workforce Area Analysis.  The contract has a full list of deliverables, however, here is a brief overview: 
  • Review of existing workforce development system;
  • Case studies of other workforce development systems;
  • Community engagement through focus groups, in-depth interviews, virtual workshops and stakeholder groups;
  • Public input via study website, dedicated email and telephone hotline; 
  • Labor market briefing including 
    • Changes in employment, unemployment and participation in the labor force, by industry over the last 10 years, emphasizing changes pre- and post-pandemic;
    • Industries and jobs in which the area specializes, measured by location quotients and other metrics;
    • Industry and occupational employment projections;
    • Projected job openings by education level and other indices of required skills.
  • Workforce development goals;
  • Metrics to measure progress;
  • Training and education opportunities;
  • Business and workers’ assistance programs. 
  • A draft and final report, which will include an executive summary, sections explaining the study process and findings, appendices and technical memos.
The above mentioned activities will also be coordinated with a consultant being retained by the City for a new Economic Development Strategic Plan, Stiletto. 

All information will be enhanced by the use of data analytics and extensive and coordinated stakeholder engagement. Keen Independent Research has successfully delivered numerous workforce development reports including producing reports for the City of Phoenix and the Arizona Department of Education. 
Financial Impact:
These workforce development analysis services cost $125,000.00. This amount has been budgeted in the economic development budget for this year in account 001-07-201-0800-4-4290 ($50,000) and 052-07-213-0830-4-4206 ($82,000).
Policy Impact:
City staff will be able to better understand the workforce ecosystem and how the City could best support it. Staff will be better positioned to efficiently and effectively develop policies and programs and then to allocate meaningful resources that will actively advance workforce development efforts locally and regionally. Activities in the community at large and in the organization can be assessed for their impact on the goals identified in the contract to ensure maximum coordination.
Connection to PBB Priorities/Objectives, Carbon Neutrality Plan & Regional Plan:
Priority Based Budget Key Community Priorities and Objectives
Priority: Robust Resilient Economy
  • Grow and strengthen a more robust, diverse, and resilient economy
  • Maintain and enhance an effective business recruitment, retention, and expansion program
  • Enhance understanding between the development community, the City and Flagstaff residents

Carbon Neutrality Plan
EP-1: Accelerate the transformation to a low-carbon economy that minimizes emissions and spurs innovation.
EP-2: Support the adaptation efforts of local businesses as the climate changes and the economic  landscape shifts.

Regional Plan
E.1.2. Support workforce training for the installation and maintenance of energy-efficient technologies. 
Goal ED.2. Support and encourage an excellent educational system that promotes critical thinking and job training programs at all levels.
Policy ED.2.1. As industry sectors emerge and grow, encourage regional workforce development partners to take a proactive role by preparing the local labor force for current and future workforce needs.
Policy ED.2.2. Support collaborative workforce training efforts by secondary schools, Coconino Community College, Northern Arizona University, and regional economic development partners.
Policy ED.2.3. Encourage efforts to provide a full range of high-quality educational opportunities for life-long learning for all residents.
Policy ED.2.4. Promote science, technology, engineering, mathematics, liberal arts, and entrepreneurship education at all levels.
Has There Been Previous Council Decision on This:
Yes. Council previously discussed this effort as a F.A.I.R. item that was approved. Staff has worked diligently since that time to deliver this contract.
Options and Alternatives:
Options include (a) Council approving this contract at which point staff will commence the work, (b) Council requesting revisions to the contract at which point additional negotiations may occur, or (c) Council rejecting this contract at which point staff would begin negotiations with the next highest scoring responding consultant for this work. 
The City of Flagstaff has been fortunate to have staff and elected officials actively participating in the workforce development system at large for many years. As Council discussed in an April 2021 Work Session, there was great interest in better understanding the workforce development system and in identifying ways that the City of Flagstaff could better support the system. Staff invited members from area organizations to form a team that would develop a meaningful scope of work focusing primarily upon the workforce system in Flagstaff as Flagstaff resides within a larger workforce development ecosystem. That team was comprised of representatives from the ARIZONA@WORK Coconino County Workforce Development Board, Northern Arizona University, Coconino Community College, the Flagstaff Unified School District, the Coconino Association for Vocations Industry and Technology, the Economic Collaborative of Northern Arizona, and members of private industry. The team created a robust scope of work that led to the solicitation for the workforce development analysis. Staff worked extensively with internal partners including Procurement and the Attorney's Office to ensure delivery of the anticipated reports. All of those efforts have produced the contract with Keen Independent Research which is now presented. 

Purchasing staff posted a Request for Statement of Qualifications (RSOQ) solicitation on April 9, 2023 on the City's PlanetBids online solicitation platform. Purchasing yielded responses from four (4) interested firms. The RSOQ was also advertised in the AZ Daily Sun on April 16th, and April 23rd, 2023. An evaluation committee of six members, including four members outside of the City, evaluated each SOQ submitted and subsequently interviewed the top three candidates. As a result of the scoring, the evaluation committee determined Keen Independent Research to be the highest scoring firm to complete the workforce development analysis. The scores for all three top scoring firms are below:

Keen          858
Thomas      825
SRI             841
Key Considerations:
Council has directed this effort by way of their April 2021 Work Session discussion. Staff has worked with subject matter experts, workforce development practitioners, and industry professionals to deliver a scope of work that meets current and future needs. Staff has identified Keen Independent Research as a highly qualified consultant to deliver meaningful analysis with actionable steps to implement enhancements to the workforce development system. Staff has worked extensively with internal partners to ensure compliance.
Expanded Financial Considerations:
The cost has been budgeted and anticipated as approved through the annual budgeting process.
Community Benefits and Considerations:
Actionable results of this workforce development analysis will benefit the entire community by charting current and future steps to meet workforce and industry needs.
Community Involvement:
Keen Independent Research will conduct community engagement through focus groups, in-depth interviews, virtual workshops and stakeholder groups, public input via study website, and dedicated email.
Expanded Options and Alternatives:
Should Council direct staff to continue negotiations with Keen Independent Research staff will need instructions as to negotiation points.
Draft Contract


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