Despite historically low unemployment and a growing economy, hiring skilled workers remains a challenge in many of our nation’s key industries, such as manufacturing, construction, information technology, and healthcare. We know America’s young people have talent. Now it’s time to embrace the tools necessary to more effectively discover and guide that emerging talent to high demand careers.
Closing the communications gap requires investments on both sides of the equation. Employers and education providers must work together to ensure the signals are accurate, clear, and verifiable. As the use of digital credentials expands, job seekers will gain unprecedented insight into the link between what they learn and the sort of employment opportunities that exist in their community -- or around the country. And for employers, the improved signal-to-noise ratio means a higher percentage of qualified applicants for each job opening, and improved ability of hiring managers to identify the best candidates for their position.
As the U.S. economy struggles to break out of economic stagnation, these investments in the different phases of education are indeed crucial, however greater attention should be paid to the role adult education programs play in sustaining and growing American commerce. Only by making these success stories more public and well known can we better position adult education advocates to make their case and secure financial resources for these vital adult education programs.
Until very recently, caring for young children was considered a family, actually a woman’s, responsibility. But things are changing. The workforce of today looks quite different. Leading employers have identified this shift and recognize that acknowledging it is a winning proposition, both for their business and for America’s future. The changing nature of the workforce and shifting employee expectations provide the business community with a unique opportunity to lead the way in implementing family friendly policies that support their employees and make economic sense for the business’ bottom line.
Breaking down STEM barriers starts in the classroom, providing science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) learning in an inclusive digital environment. And this education shouldn’t be limited to high school students. Igniting STEM interest in middle school increases girls’ STEM interest later in their education.
Adult education programs are crucial to alleviating this gap and helping all Americans achieve economic and social mobility. Educate & Elevate is a national campaign to educate America about the importance of adult education in advancing career and college readiness, and making our workforce more globally competitive.
For years, there has been a disconnect between what businesses want new employees to know before they show up for work and what the applicant pool actually knows. The TPM initiative puts employers in the driver’s seat of workforce partnerships for demand-driven workforce solutions. And it’s working for states like Houston, Kansas, and Kentucky, with success stories from Michigan, Illinois, Virginia, and Arizona soon to come.
Although U.S. high school graduation rates are at an all-time high, many employees enter the workforce without the skills that are truly needed to succeed. Recent studies show that essential soft skills such as punctuality, organization, and interpersonal communication are just as important as the hard skills, which now are seen as a basic minimum necessary in order to operate in a particular workplace.
From Baton Rouge to Grand Rapids, Austin to Atlanta, and finishing up in Frankfort last month, our 2017 five-city childcare roadshow is complete. We brought together business leaders, policy makers, advocates, and practitioners to discuss the critical role of high-quality early education and care in advancing the workforce of today, and the workforce of tomorrow. The events were a great success and in each state, an energized business community is eager and ready to take the lead in advancing this conversation in their own community.