In Jobs, Jobs, Jobs, Achieve looks at the gap between job demands and entry-level workers’ skills.
Many jobs that used to require only a high school diploma or less –- manufacturing technicians, auto mechanics, electricians and others –- now typically require some postsecondary education or certification. In addition, a quarter of American workers are now in jobs that were not even listed in the Census Bureau’s occupation codes 40 years ago.
. . . For a state or community to attract new, high-skilled industries, they need high-skilled employees – or employees who are adaptable learners with strong foundational knowledge and skills that will serve them across industries.
Unfortunately, many young people aren’t ready for college or careers. A third don’t complete high school on time; a third require remediation at two- or four-year colleges. Only a quarter of employers of recent high school graduates believe young employees are prepared for the job for which they were hired.
Despite a national unemployment rate that remains around 10%, there are about 3 million job openings across the country that cannot be filled because of a lack of skilled workers.
States need to build career and technical pathways, encourage partnerships between K-12, higher education, and the business community, and collaborate with other states on cost-effective measures, Achieve recommends.