How many more skilled workers do we need?

By Bryan Wilson, June 11, 2014

National Skills Coalition recently released a new state policy report, How Many More Skilled Workers Do We Need? Using Supply and Demand Reports for State Workforce Planning. In the report, NSC State Policy Director Bryan Wilson lays out a way that states can compare the annual supply of newly trained workers to the number of job openings in the state, and measure gaps between supply and demand.  

State policymakers are consistently hearing from employers that they cannot find enough workers with specific occupational skills to hire for open positions. State elected officials and other leaders need information to assess where education and training programs in the state are not at scale to address industry skill gaps, and to direct resources to where they are most needed to meet employer demand.  

The report explains the steps that states can take to generate supply-and-demand reports for use by governors, state legislators, and state administrators. It describes how states can measure the supply of newly trained workers who are available for jobs in the labor market and employer demand for skilled workers, and then compare supply and demand in order to identify the type and size of gaps by field of study and level of education. The report also describes some of the policies that state elected officials can use to close the skill gaps once they are identified.

How Many More Skilled Workers Do We Need? is a product of the State Workforce and Education Alignment Project (SWEAP), a project initiative of National Skills Coalition. SWEAP is helping to develop system-wide information about workforce education and training programs for state policy leaders. The goal is to create better cross-program information that allows state policy leaders to see how these programs can work together in their state, and how individuals can advance through these programs over time in the pursuit of post-secondary credentials and higher-paying employment. SWEAP is made possible with generous support from Ford Foundation and JPMorgan Chase Foundation.