The opportunity and challenge – an outdated skills system badly in need of renewal

Today, 23 million working-age Americans are unemployed, underemployed, or discouraged from seeking work. Over six million young people, age 16-24, are not school or work, unable to reach even the first rung of career opportunity.

While new job growth is essential, job creation alone will not solve the growing talent mismatch. Flaws in the U.S. skills system undermine the path to prosperity for many Americans. The current system is burdened with excessive costs, low degree completion rates, and frequent mismatch with employer needs. It fails to provide robust information to students and workers, and frequently creates misaligned incentives for individuals, employers, and education institutions.

The Solution - A New American Skills System

To tackle these big challenges Hope Street Group has tapped a diverse group of leaders including employers, education institutions, civic and youth organizations, labor unions, philanthropic foundations, technology entrepreneurs, and experienced policymakers to not just talk about the problems we face, but do something about them.

To achieve this vision, with Hope Street Group as the coordinator, this group has initiated two major efforts:

1. Creating a revolutionary Big Data Information Platform to transform the way low-skill young people accelerate their careers in partnership with LinkedIn, ManpowerGroup, the California Community College System and others. We plan to collect, analyze and leverage millions of data points and insights to empower individuals, employers and educators to make decisions that lead to better outcomes for everybody. 

For students this means helping them take ownership of their careers with a “digital career passport” that houses important information about their education, training and work experiences in one place. These “passports” would be a basis for tailored recommendations about open jobs or new experiences needed to accelerate their careers. And in the age of lifelong learning, often from non-traditional experiences, it would give students a way to signal their skills, regardless of where gained, to employers.  For employers, it would help them signal the skills that they need much faster and to identify "ready now" and "ready soon" talent that current systems may be screening out. And for educators, it would provide feedback on how to better define and align courses and programs to the skills employers require.

2. Designing and building bipartisan support for a Policy Game Plan to move the U.S. towards a 21st-century American Skills System. We will put forth new frameworks that move the U.S. towards a workforce system that supports the rapidly increasing and constantly changing skill requirements of the 21st century. Our group has created a vision for the mutually reinforcing elements of this policy game plan and is now working to translate these ideas into broad action. Click here to learn more

Our goal is that these efforts will ensure Americans can build the skills needed to get on the path to meaningful work with a New American Skills System that has five core elements: 

1. Standards. Industry-defined skills standards, assessments and certifications are widely used by employers and educators alike

2. Pathways. Fosters work-centered learning and alignment between educational pathways and the workforce

3. Information. Empowers individuals and institutions with much better information about jobs, skills and training opportunities

4. Incentives. Funds diverse education and training programs based on work-relevant skill development

5. Shared Goals. Promotes shared goals between economic development, education and workforce development

If you're interested in learning more about Hope Street Group and the Jobs initiative or sharing thoughts and ideas to tackle these challenges please click here.

Jobs & Workforce Blog

Posted by Trevor Ostbye on 06.27.14

In the United States

Subscribe to RSS - Jobs & Workforce