U.S. Chamber Gathers Leaders to Discuss Skills Gap Between Employers and Workforce

September 20, 2012

WASHINGTON, D.C.—The Institute for a Competitive Workforce (ICW), an affiliate of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, hosted a forum today with business leaders, policymakers, and education innovators to discuss how to close our country’s ongoing skills gap crisis.

“There have been more than 3 million job openings left unfilled in the country every month since February, 2011,” said Margaret Spellings, former U.S. Secretary of Education and President of the U.S. Forum for Policy Innovation at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. “This is partially due to a workforce that lacks the skills that employers are looking for. It is imperative that we close this gap to provide employers the qualified workers that they need to fill jobs and get the economy going again.”

The event opened with a keynote address by Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell and focused on how to better align higher education and workforce development programs with labor market needs.

“The Institute for a Competitive Workforce has rightly identified the skills gap in our country as a pressing crisis,” said Governor McDonnell. “If we graduate high school students who are not college or career ready, we have failed them. To address this skills gap will take a focused effort from educators; federal, state and local policy-makers; and the business community to make an explicit connection between education and the jobs of the 21st century.”

ICW also released the publication, Help Wanted: Addressing the Skills Gap, consisting of brief editorials written by leaders in business and education, and local chamber of commerce executives, which details this crisis and provides recommendations on how to address it.

“What this publication demonstrates is the need to re-evaluate how we align the skills that educational institutions are teaching with the needs of employers,” said Spellings. “I think what we learned from this summit and in reading the report, is that companies are very concerned about the talent pool in America and are willing to do whatever it takes to help people acquire the skills needed to get hired and be successful in the workforce.”

To read the full report, please visit Help Wanted: Addressing the Skills Gap.

The Institute for a Competitive Workforce is the education and workforce nonpartisan, non-profit, 501(c)(3) affiliate of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. ICW promotes the rigorous educational standards and effective job training systems needed to preserve the strength of America's greatest economic resource, its workforce.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is the world’s largest business federation representing the interests of more than 3 million businesses of all sizes, sectors, and regions, as well as state and local chambers and industry associations.

www.uschamber.com/icw            @USChamberICW            www.freeenterprise.com