There are two job openings in America for every person seeking employment. So why is it still so hard to find a job? An article from Politico has the answer: because these are jobs that require specific skills, and the training for them isn’t widely available.
“This is a crisis point,” the article quotes Boston University professor Scott Solberg, vice president of research for the Coalition for Career Development Center. “We have to have a national conversation about how we’re going to elevate career readiness, because it’s all about economic competitiveness.”
We’re reaching this point because the United States spends far less than other wealthy nations on training its workers for new jobs. In total, it spends less than a third as much on worker training as nations like France and Germany, and about half as much as Canada.
That’s a crisis for workers, who can’t access good jobs that are ready to hire. It’s also a crisis for our economy, as crucial jobs go unfilled. The kind of jobs that community colleges can provide fast, effective, and affordable training for remain empty as enrollment in college drops nationwide.
According to an article in The Hechinger Report:
“That’s a big problem for employers who need to fill jobs made even more essential by the pandemic, and in fields where there are already shortages. These include health care, cybersecurity, information technology, construction, manufacturing, transportation, law enforcement and utilities.
“‘Not having people engaged in community and technical colleges means we’re taking the fuel out of the engine,’ said Stephen Pruitt, president of the 16-state Southern Regional Education Board.”
California Offers The Free Job Training People Need
The good news is that California is ahead of the curve on finding solutions. It has developed a number of programs to make community colleges more affordable, and has created Calbright College: a first-of-its-kind college that provides free career certificates, online and flexibly paced, for all Californians. Calbright makes college accessible—it even lends laptops and wifi hotspots to people who need internet and computer access—and offers certificates employers value in areas where there is high demand for new workers, like Salesforce administration, IT support, and Cybersecurity.
And Calbright provides career support. It helps students with their resumes, LinkedIn Profiles, networking, and their job searches.
The labor shortage is a real problem nationwide. California, at least, has real solutions. They’re as good for workers as they are for industry.