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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.
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.
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.
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.
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.