Even in the current economy, employers report difficulty finding skilled entry-level talent. Over the next decade, American companies will need to compete for an estimated shortfall of 14 million workers with the skills necessary to succeed in an increasingly competitive economy. In order to ensure that businesses have the talent needed to drive economic growth, it is crucial that public policies support continued private and public investment in human capital development.
In order to develop new sources of skilled talent, private sector employers are forging partnerships with innovative nonprofit organizations to create enterprising pathway programs that are highly effective at closing the gap between business needs and potential employee skills. Corporate Voices for Working Families and Year Up, a nonprofit that provides career training to low-income young adults (18-24) are closely aligned with the New Options Project, a multi-year initiative that seeks to connect more than four million young adults with no high school diploma to meaningful career opportunities that match their talents and skills. Supported by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, New Options works to connect employer talent needs with new sources of previously undeveloped talent. Work zones are used to create and test innovative products and market-based approaches that provide pathways to employment, which are supported by national initiatives and movement building to influence perceptions. The following zones are part of the New Options Project:
As America works hard to bring down its budget deficit and create lasting economic growth, it is important to support the critical role businesses play in creating jobs and developing human capital. At this time of limited resources, Congress must take a hard look at the workforce, tax, and education policies that shape Americaʼs talent pool and determine the economic future of all its citizens.
Although we are experiencing high unemployment and joblessness, employers continue to have trouble finding skilled employees. We urge Congress to align education, job training, and tax policies with the talent needs of employers. Doing so will help close the skills gap, connect talent with employment, and encourage business to create economic growth and upward mobility through on-the-job training and ongoing human capital development. Government alone cannot do the job. Government, businesses, and educators working together can get the job done and done right.