College has priced out the middle class, and guaranteed employability post-college has dissipated. There is much discussion of the “skills gap,” but that is much like Nancy Reagan’s “Just Say No” campaign. It places all the onus on young people least able to determine the best training investment and abdicates employers and the government. What exists is a training gap, and what the training should look like, who should offer it and what the outcomes should be directly involve those with the greatest benefit from trained workers: employers.
Richard Dobbs of Fortune Magazine writes, “by 2020, around the world, there is likely to be a shortage of approximately 40 million high- skilled workers and 45 million medium-skill workers. Against that will be a surplus of 95 million low-skilled workers.”
What was the problem?
What is the solution?
The solution: make apprenticeships look more like the economy. Bring apprenticeships out of their limited silos and into the fastest growing parts of the economy. Chicago and Cook County are competing globally – both for the workforce of the future and the jobs that will fuel a 21st century economy. To stay competitive, government needs to facilitate employer participation in meeting the training needs of the future. Apprenticeships are part of that solution.
As Chairman of the County’s Workforce Committee, Commissioner Gainer will be facilitating industry groups and creating a path for employers to build apprenticeship programs in non-traditional areas. Apprenticeships have been a path to the middle class for generations in skilled trades, law enforcement and medicine, but there are great opportunities in the services and technology sectors. She feels it is time to bring apprenticeships to some of the high growth areas of the economy and rather than mandates, the best place to start is to incentivize businesses.