Washington DC February 5, 2016 - A newly released research paper warns that employers and policymakers are in danger of ignoring the potential of today’s adult workers to meet near and mid- term skill shortages in the workplace. The paper, by Garrison Moore and Robert Bowman, speaks to employers, educators, policy makers, and the general public. A rigorously researched document, it includes more than 30 charts and graphs clearly illustrating for a lay audience the sometimes-arcane world of labor market statistics. Among the findings:
1. Most of the future US workforce is already on the job and will be despite the retirement of the baby boom generation - 84 percent of people working today will still on the job 10 years from now and two thirds will still be there in 2035.
2. Conversely, the research shows that young people entering the workforce make up a very small part of the workforce – less than two percent a year.
3. Declining workforce participation has its roots in young people staying in high school and going on to college rather than adults dropping out or retiring early.
4. The nature of work is changing almost beyond recognition. Occupations largely involving routine tasks have fallen by an estimated six million jobs in the past five years while occupations requiring more knowledge, skills, and flexibility have continued healthy growth little affected by the worst recession in 70 years.
5. The education and training of today’s workforce is largely catch as catch can for working adults. Today’s education and training infrastructure is uncoordinated and places many hurdles for working adult learning and employer involvement.
6. The authors suggest that the most effective way to raise the skills of working adults is through an employer-centered active workforce policy (rather than just adding more uncoordinated programs). Employers and employer organizations teaming up community colleges offer a good place to start developing such a system in many communities.
The complete report can be downloaded here: DOWNLOAD THE PDF OF THE REPORT