Closing the Skills Gap Through Last-Mile Training
Ryan Craig and Cassidy Leventhal, University Ventures
The Problem: The Skills Gap
America’s labor market is plagued by a massive and widening skills gap: our current systems of education and workforce development aren’t adequately preparing Americans with the skills employers are seeking. As a result, our workforce is showing numerous symptoms – exits from the workforce, wage stagnation, underemployment, lack of diversity, and social upheaval – while over 7 million jobs, many middle and high-skilled, remain unfilled, restricting growth in industries critical to the country’s economic future.
The Solution: Last-Mile Training
Last-Mile Training takes a Design Thinking approach to the skills gap: designing backward from good entry-level jobs rather than forward from high school. In particular, “employer-down” Last-Mile Training models are demonstrating their ability to close the skills gap at scale by adding entry-level talent recruitment and training onto already-scaled intermediaries, such as staffing companies and business service providers providing “Outsourced Apprenticeships” across a wide range of skill gap areas.
The Proposal: Federal Funding for “Employer-Down” Last Mile Training
Federal support for postsecondary education focuses on degrees, not jobs. Redirecting existing funding streams to Last-Mile Training and paying only for real outcomes in placing disadvantaged candidates into full-time, high-earning, career-track jobs in growing industries will accelerate the growth of frictionless career pathways for millions of Americans in greatest need of economic advancement.
Vision for Impact:
The recent success of Last-Mile Training models, as well as bipartisan support for expanding apprenticeships beyond traditional building and industrial trades, have created the necessary conditions to implement the proposed funding model. At scale, federal funding for Last-Mile Training will support pathways for unemployed and underemployed Americans to achieve not only today’s 7 million unfilled jobs, but also the millions of new jobs that will be created over the next decade – from the 1.4 million unfilled software jobs expected by 2020, to the growth from still-nascent fields like blockchain, Robotic Process Automation, telemedicine, and others. State and local leaders can take action now to launch the first successful models of public-private partnerships for “employer-down” Last-Mile Training – accelerating local labor market growth and paving the way for a national and uniquely American solution to the skills gap.
PATHWAY 2 TOMORROW
Pathway 2 Tomorrow: Local Visions for America’s Future (P2T) matches responsive and agile education policy solutions with the needs of states and local communities.
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