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Education For Business’ Sake
Even as unemployment continues to soar, companies are having a hard time finding talent that meets their needs. Employers have a simple, straightforward reason to invest in employee education: the bottom line.
America stands on the brink of a global employability crisis. There are too many available workers and not enough qualified talent. Some 90 percent of employers say candidate-specific factors — including a lack of necessary skills and experience — contribute to challenges filling mission-critical roles according to findings from a May talent shortage survey by global recruitment firm ManpowerGroup.
Findings from the Corporate Voices study “A Profile of Young Workers (16-26) in Low-Income Families,” also released in May, indicate that in an economic downtown, employees see fewer opportunities to advance their careers and often return to school to boost their skills and marketability.
“Since the financial crisis began, the climb up the career ladder has become higher and steeper,” said Donna Klein, executive chairman and CEO at Corporate Voices for Working Families. “There’s a huge skills gap we’re facing as a country. Those who are pursuing education to close the gap are greatly enabled to complete that education if they have support through their employer.”
That trend doesn’t apply for employed youth, only 1 percent of whom go back to school during an economic downtown to develop new skills.
Corporate America is making an effort to turn the tide for its talent pipeline. Former Intel CEO Craig Barrett, Time Warner Cable boss Glenn Britt, Xerox CEO Ursula Burns, Eastman Kodak chief Antonio Perez and Sally Ride Science CEO Sally Ride joined forces with Carnegie Corp. of New York and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to form Change the Equation. The group appealed to state governors, urging them to set higher standards for student proficiency in science and mathematics, since only one fifth of today’s eighth-graders are proficient or advanced in math, according to figures from national educational assessments.
This problem may transcend elementary school borders. According to “The American Workforce,” an October 2009 survey of 600 executives as part of a Business Roundtable commission called the Springboard Project, two-thirds of employers say they require at least an associate’s degree for most positions. However, nearly 50 percent do not provide or require ongoing education or skills training for their employees.
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