It’ll advance younger generations—and the U.S. economy.
The chasm between the skills that U.S. employers are looking for and the abilities that potential hires actually possess is approaching epidemic proportions. Businesses in virtually every industry are struggling to find workers who have the academic, technical and professional skills to consistently excel and succeed in the workplace. And younger workers, in particular, sense the disconnect between their workforce preparedness and what is actually needed on the job. But why is this happening—and here, in America, of all places?
Of the myriad of factors that play into our skills gap, one that looms large is the awareness gap. This is the breach between what people think they know about a particular industry and what is actually true. Manufacturing, for instance, is a prime example; for many people, it conjures up images of a grubby factory and low-paying work. But in reality, manufacturing is a high-tech, high-precision field where, on average, workers are earning more than $80,000 annually—and, to boot, where there are plenty of open jobs. Yet manufacturing is dogged by a persistent awareness gap that is causing younger generations—Millennials and Generation-Z—to bypass the industry.
Young people simply don’t know what they don’t know about rewarding careers in high-demand fields—such as manufacturing, aviation, healthcare, construction, agriculture, transportation and many more—that only require an industry certification and may even lead to a college degree, along with the means to pay for it. And why don’t they know?
Because their parents and teachers don’t know. It’s a profound awareness gap—and it begins and ends with older generations.
Bridging the awareness gap—to close the skills gap—will require a major paradigm shift. Parents, educators and employers all have a crucial role in not just making young people aware of skills-gap professions, but also motivating them to pursue those careers if they are the right fit. Here’s a good place for each group to start:
America’s skills gap starts with our awareness gap. So let’s start now to bridge it.