The Jobs Are There, The Education Is Not
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On the heels of the Chamber's Institute for a Competitive Workforce event, Help Wanted, former U.S. Secretary of Education and president of the Chamber's Forum for Policy Innovation Margaret Spellings penned an op-ed in USA Today. In it, she addresses the education skills gap that keeps available workers from open jobs:
We can't compete with a K-12 education system where half of African-American males and 42% of Hispanic males fail to graduate from high school on time. As a direct result, African Americans and Hispanics are suffering from unemployment rates of 14.1% and 10.2% respectively.We can't compete when the average college graduate is saddled with a nearly $23,000 tab for postsecondary education and, in many cases, doesn't have relevant skills to show for it.We can't compete with a scattered approach to workforce development that is poorly informed by real data about where the jobs are, what credentials and skills those jobs require, and without educational institutions that are responsive to specific workforce needs.And we can't compete without a cultural shift that emphasizes the need for lifelong learning. Even for the highly educated, upgrading skills throughout one's career is now a necessity.