A New Path Forward-A Workforce Development Solution

Source: Accelerator for America | Report | 2021

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THE FUTURE OF WORK IS HERE.

AMERICA’S CURRENT SYSTEM OF TRAINING, PREPARATION AND MATCHING WORKERS WITH JOBS HAS FAILED TO EVOLVE WITH THE CHANGING NATURE OF WORK.

Large segments of the population are low-skilled and increasingly likely to be chronically unemployed. At the same time, nearly half of graduates of 4-year programs are overqualified for their jobs. This underemployment, partly attributable to employers’ use of college degrees as a proxy for 21st-century skills, creates inefficiencies and costs for both businesses and workers. The result of rapid technological advancement, unmatched by progress in our workforce development systems, has left us with both a shortage of workers and a shortage of jobs.

For too long, workforce development has been driven by supply — training institutions have driven how workers are prepared for their jobs, leading to inefficiencies and mismatches between the skills that workers have and those that businesses need. Now, it is time for a demand-driven approach driven by local leaders, with employers at the center of leading and decision making.

COVID-19 only increases the urgency of this work. After months of un- or under-employment, workers will feel a heightened sense of urgency to return not only to work, but to good jobs — defined as those offering resistance to automation, a livable wage, and stability. Furthermore, the need for reform will not disappear when the immediate health and economic consequences of the pandemic are alleviated.

Together with Allererator for America’s sponsor the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, they created our “A New Path Forward: Place-Based Solutions for a Stronger Workforce Ecosystem” Playbook to provide local leaders and stakeholders with recommendations for and examples of successful workforce development programs from across the country.