The need to increase the workplace skills of the American workforce has become more urgent as the economy grows at a 4% annual clip.
Companies are hiring, but can’t find enough workers to fill available positions.
The most recent job numbers from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics tell the story: there are nearly 6.7 million available, unfilled jobs — a number that exceeds the number of unemployed Americans (at just under 6.3 million) by 400,000.
Traditionally “blue collar” jobs, long seen as evaporating, are among the subset of unfilled positions. For example, there are nearly 500,000 manufacturing jobs available, but no one filling them; and more than 260,000 unfilled construction jobs — all of which require some degree of skills lacking among too many Americans.
Congress and the Trump administration have taken some steps to address this “skills gap” in the workforce, most recently by the congressional reauthorization last month of the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act signed by the president. President Donald Trump also issued an executive order last year to expand the number of apprenticeships in the country.
More can be done. More needs to be done.
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