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.
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Closing the communications gap requires investments on both sides of the equation. Employers and education providers must work together to ensure the signals are accurate, clear, and verifiable. As the use of digital credentials expands, job seekers will gain unprecedented insight into the link between what they learn and the sort of employment opportunities that exist in their community -- or around the country. And for employers, the improved signal-to-noise ratio means a higher percentage of qualified applicants for each job opening, and improved ability of hiring managers to identify the best candidates for their position.
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.
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.
Economic mobility rests on the opportunities that individuals are granted or seek out. Education plays a big part of that, which is why many professionals are now looking for continuous ways to improve their skillsets. But how do you validate that people have earned what they say they've earned? The reality is that people lie about their credentials. The solution? Use advanced technology to make credentials trackable and unfakeable.
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.
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.
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.
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.