“The unemployment rate is 10 percent but businesses are struggling to fill 2.6 million jobs because applicants lack required skills” observed a December 12th Politico article.
In an effort to remedy this disconnect, the Business Roundtable recently launched The Springboard Project, an effort by a group of education and business leaders to develop policy recommendations to improve U.S. education and work training. According to their December report, “the United States ranks second-to-last among developed nations in postsecondary completion rates.”
William D. Green, chairman of The Springboard Project said that: “Improving education is essential to building a better trained and skilled workforce” and that the gap between available jobs and qualified applicants will increase unless “the nation’s educational system isn’t changed to reflect the type of skills employees will need in the future and the impediments that are driving graduation rates down.” Among the Board’s recommendations are to
– “[i]ncrease postsecondary education and training attainment rates,”
– “[e]mpower students and workers by creating nationally portable workforce skill credentials,” and
– “[b]uild on the untapped potential of community colleges and two-year institutions.”
The Roundtable also released a report last year on “Tapping America’s Potential: The Education for Innovation Initiative,” a proposal to double the annual number of U.S. science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) graduates by 2015. For the many Americans suffering from unemployment or for college aspirants worried that they will graduate without any job prospects, this statistic from The Bureau of Labor Statistics could serve as friendly advice: the Bureau predicts that employment in science and engineering fields will grow approximately 70 percent faster than overall growth in other sectors.
More Americans choosing to pursue a technical degree could also give the economy just the boost it needs. The TAP report explained that “highly educated technical professionals constitute the key differentiator in global economic competition.”
Sarah Carlsruh is an intern at the American Journalism Center, a training program run by Accuracy in Media and Accuracy in Academia.
*Blog entries by interns reflect their personal opinions only and not that of Accuracy and Academia.