Workforce development issues are an important focus of our work and have been for many years. Predictably, as the economy shows some signs of growth, the discussion of skills shortages start to proliferate. This blog recently featured a piece from the Atlantic that looked at whether any skills shortages can be traced to failures in the US education system. Now the Northeast Regional Employment & Training Association has a piece questioning whether these skills gaps are as widespread as reported:
We all keep hearing that there is a “skills gap” in the manufacturing industry. Really? Are we sure about that?
Could it be that:
People don’t qualify for the jobs for reasons other than a “skills gap?”
People don’t know the jobs exist?
People don’t want the jobs?
Before we talk about this supposed “skills gap” can we do a little investigating to find out what is really going on? Because if there really is a “skills gap” we all want to understand what industry specific skills are missing in our country and fix that, right?. However, in order to fix it, we need to determine what we mean by a “skills gap” (if in fact there is one), why it is happening and if a skills gap truly exists, what are the specific steps needed to address the problem discovered.
They make a pretty good case that, in many situations, the rhetoric about a “skills gap” does much to obscure the underlying problems that seem to be troubling manufacturers.
The full article is here.