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.
That work is going well and is spurring a more comprehensive transformation of the public schools and greater alignment between higher education programs and business needs. But the payoff is long term. Meanwhile, manufacturers have more immediate skill needs that are not being met. So, ConxusNEO is now focusing on those needs as well. The starting point for meeting those immediate skill needs is reliable and actionable information about which jobs are most difficult to fill and what skills those jobs require. But that information turns out to be in short supply, creating a missing link at a crucial point in the talent supply chain. Enter, the Talent Pipeline Management (TPM) Initiative.
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.
The world is changing in profound ways. This change has brought with it growth, opportunity, and job creation, as well as new risks for workers and communities. For many of these risks, we are ill equipped to manage them. These are the risks that have fueled economic anxiety and job insecurity.