Training Demand Remains Strong, but will the Investment?
Findings suggest that the demand for postsecondary education and training in the U.S. labor market will remain strong. It will remain strong not only for workers with bachelor’s and advanced degrees, but also for those with more than high school, but less than a four-year degree.
Using federal monies, the Workforce System is mostly limited to training those who fall out of the labor market and must meet eligibility criteria to obtain services. The federal system is however very slow to adapt to changes in demand, because of equal importance now for over a decade, is the need to assist employed workers in increasing their skill sets.
Since the federal Workforce System doesn’t readily offer incumbent worker training, many states have seen fit to invest state money to fill this void. Maine could certainly do the same. The economic benefit would more than pay for the investment. Simply put, there clearly needs to be greater public investment in education and skills training in order to generate important returns for the Maine economy.
Across the nation, postsecondary graduation rates lag behind industry demand. In addition, curriculum mismatch and the inability of institutions to keep up with progressive technology growth in industry is prevalent. Postsecondary Education also has some difficulty teaching students in a contextualized manner. For these reasons we must also provide other career pathways to labor market success for those who cannot enroll in or complete such degrees. Of course, employers must be willing to engage education and training providers and offer on the job training modalities when traditional classroom method is not appropriate.
Finally, job-seekers must be willing to pay for an education and acquire the marketable skills in demand by business. But further aid for those enrolling in four-year college programs is clearly critical as well as providing other pathways to labor market success for those who cannot enroll in or complete such degrees. Labor market opportunities will clearly be available to such individuals, and proven education and training paths exist for both the current and future workforce. It is time to invest more heavily in appropriate skill development.
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