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.
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In our special edition report, released in hard copy at the 2017 USCCF hosted America Working Forward event, through research, data, and case studies we discuss the complexity of the skills gap and those who are paving the way forward.
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.
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.
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.
MAGNET, an Ohio MEP that recognized the growing need for high school graduates with STEM skills in order to sustain the manufacturing economy in Ohio, created an employer-led pre-apprenticeship program aligned with the Ohio Department of Education College and Career readiness graduation standards, and partnered with local public education and local employers.
While technical skills are often industry-specific, soft skills such as professional communication, critical thinking, collaboration, and time management are valued by employers across sectors. The importance of these skills is widely acknowledged; yet, they are not taught with consistency or given prioritization.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics Employment Projections, computing occupations make up two-thirds of all projected new jobs in STEM fields, yet less than 25 percent of U.S. schools currently teach computer science related courses.