America’s Got Talent…Let’s Develop More
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American global competitiveness depends on developing and attracting talent according to a new report from the consulting firm, Deloitte. It’s like a worldwide contest for the best talent, only Howard Stern and Sharon Osbourne aren’t judging.
Authors William Eggers and John Hagel write, “Today, there is a significant and growing mismatch between the country’s demand for talent and its current supply.” On the demand side, they point out that growing economies like India, China, and Brazil are now competing with the U.S. for high-skilled workers. On the supply side, they note that the workforce is aging and that manufacturers aren’t finding enough qualified workers to fill open positions, which means skill development is critical.
Looking at public policy through a talent development lens, the authors make a few policy recommendations on education, immigration, and foreign direct investment.
The authors point out that the skills graduates get from college “have an expected shelf life of only five years.” Lifelong learning and continuously learning new skills is now the norm. Eggers and Hagel write, “K-12 reforms should focus on expanding technical and vocational training as an alternative pathway to highly specialized skills.” In addition, they recommend more promotion of apprenticeships to give high school graduates practical work experience as they developing useful skills.
“Our immigration policies make it extraordinarily difficult for talented foreigners to migrate to America—or stay after they’ve gone to graduate school here,” according to Eggers and Hagel. When they leave, America loses that valuable, job-creating talent. One of their recommendations is to allow foreign students who earn graduate degrees in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) to “be allowed to stay in the U.S. at least for a period of time—and then qualify to stay longer and apply for a green card.”
Foreign Direct Investment
Eggers and Hagel admit that foreign direct investment (FDI), on its face, is not usually mentioned in a discussion about talent development. However, they point out that foreign investors offer “cutting-edge technology and leading management expertise.” They recommend that policymakers make more of an effort to increase America’s share of global FDI by promoting the benefits of investing in the U.S.
In this global talent show, these recommendations would improve the talent already here and make the U.S. a more-inviting place for the world’s best workers.