Updated Oct. 8, 2019 –
An innovative solution has been unveiled to solve a big economic conundrum.
A big schism exists between what employers need in worker skills but millions of people either can’t get a family wage job and or work a full 40-hour work week.
Even though the unemployment rate has dropped to a record low 3.5 percent in the Trump economy, employers complain they have 6 million unfilled jobs because of a huge skills-gap among job seekers.
In addition, the average American workweek is only 34.4 hours. Underemployment is a chronic problem for Millennials and seasoned workers.
Underemployment exists when a worker has a job, but his or her work hours and/or pay levels are too low.
To be sure, lack of education plays an important role. But even college-educated workers are suffering. Many had the wrong majors that won’t lead to good jobs.
A college degree is not a guarantee of career success. Millennials are learning at an early age that they need to be flexible and strategic in their choices.
3 issues for employers
As it is, the roundtable-member companies employ 15 million workers and have $6 trillion in annual revenue.
“As employers, we know that America’s economic growth is directly linked to the skills of today’s workers. Unfortunately, the skills of many job applicants and existing employees have not kept up with the requirements of current and future jobs,” said Wes Bush, Chairman, chief executive officer and president of Northrop Grumman Corporation and Chair of the Business Roundtable Education and Workforce Committee.
In a press release, the roundtable cited employers’ three challenges:
- A lack of individuals with fundamental “employability skills,” such as the ability to use basic math, communicate effectively, read technical manuals, work successfully in teams and participate in complex problem-solving. Seventy-five percent of responding CEOs indicated that fundamental math, reading and writing skills are important. Fifty percent of them are having difficulty finding qualified applicants with these skills.
- A lack of workers who have the specialized skills needed to fill many trade positions. Forty-four percent of responding CEOs expressed difficulty finding qualified candidates for at least one skilled trade occupation.
- A lack of applicants with the science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) skills needed for many of today’s jobs. Cybersecurity, data science, robotics, software and computer science engineers were among the most difficult positions to fill with qualified candidates.
To combat the underemployment issue, the Trump Administration is pushing to create 25 million new jobs.
President Trump is employing a tactic in which he succeeded as a reality TV star and real estate magnate – he’s embarked on a campaign to create apprenticeships.
He is encouraging workforce training partnerships between among companies and schools. That includes programs in which Americans learn skills from seasoned workers while earning a paycheck.
But he’ll do it without spending vast sums of taxpayer dollars. He’s pushing for effective training programs and for the private sector to create apprenticeships.
“The reality is that there are still Americans seeking employment despite low unemployment rates and companies are struggling to fill vacancies that require various levels of skills and training,” said Ivanka Trump, the president’s daughter and one of his advisors.
She is spearheading her father’s “Pledge to America’s Workers.” the pledge asks employers to increase their training programs.
It’s already yielding outstanding results. Last week, Google CEO Sundar Pichai said his tech firm will fund training for 250,000 Americans in tech skills over the next five years.
She said her father’s administration challenges Congress “to pass reforms expanding apprenticeships and raise awareness about the fact [that] there are important, very viable career paths outside of the traditional four-year college experience.”
Many of the 6 million unfilled jobs are in healthcare, information technology and manufacturing according to Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta.
He indicated less than 0.2 percent of workers have been in apprenticeship programs. However, 90 percent of those who worked as an apprentice got a job at that paid an annual average of $60,000.
The Trump Administration apprenticeship-initiative sounds pretty good. It works for me.
From the Coach’s Corner, here are related public policy solutions:
Why President Trump’s Growth Budget, Reforms Matter — Deficit-spending and the resulting massive debt severely damages America’s economic prospects and hurts each American. But a disciplined approach will make America great again — by shrinking the national debt and implementing other needed reforms.
No Thanks to Bad Policy and Journalists, Economic Handcuffs Coming Off — By removing handcuffs on the nation’s economy, it will continue its strong growth if we capitalize on lessons in common-sense economic-growth policies from two late presidents.
“Do what you love to do and give it your very best. Whether it’s business or baseball, or the theater, or any field. If you don’t love what you’re doing and you can’t give it your best, get out of it. Life is too short.”