Anticipating discussion of jobs and the skills gap in tonight's State of the Union Address
Online PR News – 28-January-2014 –As President Obama addresses high-level topics from behind the podium in today’s State of the Union Address, one discussion point may not be so out of reach for the laymen and laywomen it affects: the stumbling job market. While people will have to wait and see what comes of conversations about foreign policy and health care infrastructure, Americans have decidedly more efficacy with regards to their role in the workforce. Both populace and government alike must take action to improve employment prospects…
There’s no need to harp on the competitive job market, the current unemployment rate of 6.7%, or the student debt crisis; most people are well aware. Job creation and upward mobility are top-of-mind topics for millions of Americans. GWU Graduate School of Political Management’s twitter analysis yesterday revealed that 42% of people want jobs to be addressed in the State of the Union speech, while 40% want to hear about the Economy, 38% want to hear about the federal deficit and 34% want to hear about health care law. The job market is at the top of the list, indicating that Americans are eager to explore ways of improving it.
“The solution becomes clear: give people access to training for the skills they need to fill the jobs that need them.”
State of the Union speeches often offer prescription without remedy. Recall Bush’s 2005 promises to help low-income families, or Obama’s immigration reform, now caught up in a Republican-led House. A politically divided Washington and a well-known system of checks and balances make change implementation a challenge. This is why the urgency of beating unemployment lies largely in the hands of the unemployed.
…And Here’s How
With so much of the dialogue focused on job creation, people often overlook the opportunity that lies in the 4 million open jobs that already exist. These jobs require specialized training and are therefore symptomatic of the “skills gap,” the mismatch between the skills job-seekers possess and the skills employers need to fill their openings. Demand is growing for middle-skill workers, such as technicians and machinists, but supply is lacking; not enough people have the necessary training. In light of these facts, the solution becomes clear: give people access to training for the skills they need to fill the jobs that need them.
Professional and vocational training providers like CleanEdison offer individuals and organizations a means of gaining credentials and developing the skills that make them marketable in today’s employment landscape. By earning qualifications through vocational training, current and prospective employees ensure their value and longevity in the workforce. Whereas anyone can undertake skills training, up-skilling specifically refers to training existing employees. Both training and up-skilling, as methods for combatting unemployment by closing the skills gap, are important candidates for receiving more government resources like incumbent worker training programs.
In a January 15 speech in North Carolina, where President Obama spoke on the issue, saying, “Congress has to do its part too,” he was referring to extending unemployment insurance. Unaddressed, however, was the prospect of allocating more federal funds to training individuals for entry into, or sustainability within, the skills-based workforce. A broad-based program, complete with incentives and financial support for people who seek and/or need technical skills, would be one sure way of helping to bring employment levels up to par.
Of course, one hopes that Obama puts forth an idea – and a plan – for closing the workforce skills gap and creating more jobs, but competing with such issues as health care, free trade and potential new sanctions on Iran, it will be interesting to hear what he says on the topic.
CleanEdison Inc. is a national training provider focused on clean technology education. We offer online, in-classroom, and hands-on vocational training to building professionals, businesses, post-secondary institutions, and government organizations.