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- Skills Mismatch
A delegation of Georgia business leaders will travel to Washington, D.C. to call on Congress and the incoming Trump Administration to support middle-skill jobs. The fly-in of employers from 25 states and the District of Columbia is being organized by Business Leaders United for Workforce Partnerships, a national coalition of employers from a range of industries who are working to address our country’s skills gap.
“In Georgia, approximately 55% of job openings are for middle-skill positions – many pay very well and offer opportunities for advancement. That sounds like great news, but only 44% of Georgia residents have the right training and education to get hired for those jobs,” said Scott Burton, CEO of Whitaker-Taylor, Inc., an HR Technology consultant firm headquartered in Atlanta.. “If we’re truly going to keep up with today’s fast-paced economy, Congress needs to address this skills gap by making federal postsecondary investments more responsive to working learners and local employers.”
Businesses in Georgia are offering jobs with opportunities to move up the ladder, but these positions need trained or credentialed workers with the right skills. “Middle-skill” jobs require more than a high school degree but not a bachelor’s degree and are a critical part of the state and national economy. According to a National Skills Coalition analysis, just over half of all job openings between 2012 and 2022 will be for middle-skill jobs.
BLU employers are working with local partners like community colleges, labor unions, and local workforce boards to train and hire community residents for skilled jobs, and want our country’s policymakers to follow suit and invest – aggressively and effectively – in the skills of America’s workers.
During their fly-in, BLU employers will meet with their local Members of Congress and with members of the incoming administration to call for policies that support their efforts including: investing in partnerships between local industry and community colleges (through reauthorization of the Perkins Act); making financial aid more job-driven by extending Pell grants to people who want to complete in-demand short term occupational training programs (through reauthorization of the Higher Education Act); and supporting apprenticeship and upskilling.
“Businesses, community and technical colleges and lawmakers all have a role to play, if we’re going to give students the best chance at a great career,” Burton said. “Businesses are working with community colleges to design curricula that give working students access to training programs to move into these middle-skill jobs that businesses like mine are trying to fill. And lawmakers need to support these efforts.”