This is a cross-posted article from the SEIU Healthcare NW Training Partnership /SEIU Healthcare NW Health Benefits Trust in Seattle.
by Charissa Raynor and Johan E. Uvin
The U.S. workforce is in crisis. Today, 36 million adults in our country are considered low-skilled (OECD, 2013). This means about 1 in 6 American adults lack the ability to spell, read, and write and about 1 in 3 lack the ability to do basic math. These are the basic skills that 21st century employers need as they look to fill millions of current job vacancies. Meanwhile, the majority of working adults with low skills earn meager wages with little to no pathways for career advancement into the middle class. The skills gap also has serious social and economic implications for an individual’s overall quality of life. Adults with low skills are also four times more likely to report poor to fair health than those with higher skills. Needless to say, the economic consequences for our country are significant.
Department of Labor to Host Live Stream Talk on Workforce System Innovations
Department of Labor Secretary Thomas E. Perez invites education stakeholders to a live stream talk on exciting and impactful workforce system innovations being implemented by DOL’s Workforce Innovation Fund grantees. Secretary Perez will kick off this first event in the Eye on the Workforce Innovation Fund Stakeholder Engagement Series, providing opening remarks on the impacts that these innovations will have on our nation’s workforce system. He will be joined by Kate McAdams, Senior Advisor to the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Commerce, and Employment and Training Administration (ETA) Acting Assistant Secretary Eric Seleznow.
Register now to participate in Innovating @ the Speed of Business on March 27, 2014 at 2:15 PM ET. Workforce Innovation Fund grantees in Ohio and Pennsylvania will share their strategies for engaging businesses and creating viable pathways.
During the event, everyone is welcome to post questions on Twitter using the hash tag #workforceinnovation. The project team will monitor questions on Twitter and answer them from the Labor Department Twitter account (@USDOL) during and after the event.
This stakeholder engagement series is designed to provide a national forum for the public workforce system to discuss the power and promise of innovation. It will afford ETA the opportunity to engage with its valued stakeholders and to learn about promising practices that can successfully help businesses thrive and Americans get good jobs.
If you want to find information on skills and educational attainment, the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration’s guide to the relevant sources will allow you to shed light on labor or skill shortages, skill mismatches, and skill deficiencies. Skimming for Skills provides links to surveys, reports and customized data tools, and includes more than three dozen sources.
Now more than ever, maintaining America’s competitive edge requires that workers obtain relevant post-secondary credentials and that employers have access to a well-trained and highly-skilled workforce. For decades, the national Registered Apprenticeship system and the nation’s extensive network of two- and four-year post-secondary institutions have been at the forefront of providing industry-driven education and training that supports business competitiveness and career advancement for workers.
On April 19th, the U.S. Department of Education, in partnership with the U.S. Department of Labor, announced the availability of $474.5 million to create and expand innovative partnerships between community colleges and businesses to educate and train workers with the skills employers need. This is the third of four rounds of funding under the $2 billion Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training (TAACCCT) grant program.
The U.S. Department of Labor reported that the economy added 236,000 non-farm jobs in February, according to their preliminary figures. Industries that added workers in Career and Technical Education pathways include Construction, Healthcare, Leisure and Hospitality, and the Motion Picture and Sound Recording Industries.
Industries with the most workers added to payrolls in the last month include:
- +44,100 Admninistrative and Waste Services
- +39,100 Health care and Social Assistance
- +31,700 Specialty Trade Contractors
- +23,700 Retail Trade
- +20,800 Motion Picture and Sound Recording
- +26,800 Professional and Technical Services
- +20,600 Accomodations and Food Services
Industries with largest reductions in the number of workers in the last month include:
- -31,700 Electronics and Appliance Stores
- -14,700 Educational Services
- -10,000 Government
Visit www.BLS.gov to see the press release, access employment figures by industry, and dig deeper into state and local data.
Employment figures based on preliminary data reported by BLS for February 2013.