Sustained economic success requires a competitive workforce. A competitive workforce is produced by an educational system that instills in workers the knowledge and skills necessary to compete in the global economy.
The reality is that the United States suffers from a skill gap, a problem that is projected to worsen. The educational system is not equipping students with the skills that are needed, and inadequate retraining is taking place to retool workers to transition from declining industries to future ones. The pending retirement of 78 million baby boomers only exacerbates the problem.
But there is hope. The government and the business community increasingly recognize the significance of the problem. There are examples of programs that are working, and education will be a
priority for the next president. It is essential that the business community be engaged in this issue, as education and the skills of the workforce will have a direct bearing on the ability of companies and the country to compete going forward. Business must be heard at both the state and local levels and must be directly involved in helping to solve the problems that exist.
The ICW Education and Workforce Summit brought together a broad group of representatives from chambers of commerce, business, and nonprofits, as well as other leading thinkers on education and the American workforce. Key themes from the Summit and an executive summary of each general session can be downloaded here.