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A National Labor Shortage

January 20th, 2014 by ProOrbis

Despite conventional wisdom that a college degree is the path to success, quantitative metrics may disprove that claim. According to The Institute for College Access and Success, an average borrower will graduate with close to $26,600 of college debt, and 1 of 10 will default on that debt within two years. In total, about 30 million borrowers owe $1.2 trillion in student loan debt. On top of a relatively jobless recovery from the worst recession since the Great Depression, a traditional four-year college degree may not be the only solution.

In fact, there is a marked national shortage of skilled labor from welders to heavy equipment techs that manufacturing companies are hiring directly out of trade schools, mostly before these students even graduate. Additionally, these are high-paying jobs. Welders commonly earn more than $100,000 a year. According to Mike Rowe, host of the Discovery Channel show “Dirty Jobs,” the tremendous skills gap in this country is a product of perception where a higher education at a four-year university is seen as superior to alternative education where students are taught specific skills. However, Rowe argues that the mismatch of student skills to the jobs that exist today is an indicator of the disconnect between conventional beliefs and realistic opportunities.

The skills gaps in the U.S. can be attributed to the lack of understanding of the skills (both job-related and “soft skills”) and capacity (the number of workers) that will be required for the future.  There is a disconnect between the workforce employers need, both now and in the future, and the workforce that schools are producing. The result of the U.S. education system should be the production of a portfolio of human capital that meets both the skills and capacity needed by employers now and throughout the 21st century.  The skills gap challenge goes far beyond the schools and one that requires a national human capital strategy that can be implemented on a community basis.

ProOrbis’ Principal is the world’s leading expert on human capital strategy and valuation.  As part of ProOrbis’ mission to create a more productive, sustainable world, ProOrbis has launched a nonprofit initiative to bring its advanced management science methodologies to this sector. As such, ProOrbis founded the American Millennium Society, a nonprofit 501 (c)(3) organization dedicated to the reform of government institutions to increase American competitiveness.  ProOrbis is working with the Society to develop a blueprint for transforming the educational experience and outcomes on a community basis.


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