The Business Roundtable’s Springboard Project — an independent commission of business executives, educators, and others — released a comprehensive report last week that outlined recommendations to enhance the skills of the U.S. workforce to better meet the needs of employers. According to a survey conducted by the project team, 61% of employers said it was difficult to fill open positions with qualified workers.
Furthermore, the “Getting Ahead — Staying Ahead” report states that the highest unemployment rate (15%) comes from the least educated segment of the population while those with a bachelor’s degree or higher have a 4.9% jobless rate.
From the executive summary:
The American workforce has reached a critical juncture; even when the unemployment rate declines, new jobs will require higher levels of education and skills than many of the jobs of the past. Our workforce increasingly finds itself lacking the skills and education demanded by the growing needs and challenges of today’s global marketplace.
One of the six recommendations made to address the issue is communicating “timely and consumer-friendly information to workers.” This means being able to easily access up-to-date labor market data (as well as education data such as program completers, etc.).
Another recommendation is “unlocking the value of community colleges and two-year institutions.” Doing so, the authors write, would “revitalize local economies.”
The report also mentions the need for tools that show current data on job listings, education information, required skills, and training providers. Springboard enlisted a number of computer-savvy professionals to search online for jobs — and the requisite education and training needed — using government-funded web sites. The result: “The report back from their mock job hunt was one of frustration and admiration for job seekers who persist through the misdirection, dead ends and out-of-date data” (pg. 26).