In Different Skills, Different Gaps: Measuring and Closing the Skills Gap, prepared for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation by Burning Glass Technologies, we examine the skills gap on an occupation-by occupation basis. This is the best way to both understand the gap, and to close it. An overall surplus of workers doesn’t offer much insight into the challenges of a specific industry looking to fill specific roles requiring specific skills.
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WASHINGTON, D.C.— The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation and the National Association of Manufacturers’ Manufacturing Institute today released a new paper advancing a solution for increased employer leadership and investment in earn and learn pathways, including apprenticeships, internship programs, vocational education, and on-the-job training. The paper, entitled “Quality Pathways: Employer Leadership in Earn and Learn Opportunities,” highlights the importance of employer leadership in developing a growing workforce that meets the needs of a modernizing United States economy.
Through its partnership with Penn Foster, EmployBridge, who puts more than 88,000 associates to work each day through professional brands including Select Staffing, ProLogistix, and Resource MFG, is doing more than connecting supply with demand. Together, they’re pioneering an entirely new approach to investing in talent with the potential to address pressing skills gaps -- while creating new career pathways for job-seekers. It’s a model that we may soon see replicated. Other staffing agencies -- in industries as varied as IT to construction to healthcare -- are exploring or have launched similar 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.
Technology has transformed a lot of the things we do at work, but learning and development (L&D) has mostly stuck with the status quo. To attract and retain necessary talent, employers would be wise to nurture a learning culture and revisit their L&D strategy to make learning a strategic asset.
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.
America is in need of a new pathway to opportunity, one where employers, government, and learners share in the risk of talent development. Our current education and training systems are struggling to align to the changing workforce development needs of the economy, and there is a need for expanded leadership and investment from the business community. We need a new approach that will create shared value and more effective pathways to employment. Now is the time to act.