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- Skills Mismatch
Washington, D.C. — National Skills Coalition today released a new nationwide survey, which shows that veterans across the country overwhelmingly support increasing public investment in skills training – the most popular of the seven economic policy proposals tested, including providing a job for any American who wants one (78 percent), raising the national minimum wage to $15 an hour (53 percent), providing Medicare to all Americans (49 percent), providing free tuition for community colleges for anyone who wants it (49 percent), and providing free tuition for four-year public colleges for anyone who wants it (41 percent).
The poll, conducted by ALG Research on behalf of National Skills Coalition, shows that nearly half of veterans (41 percent) feel unprepared for the current job market, 69 percent agree that the federal government is currently not doing enough to help them readjust to civilian life, and 95 percent agree (60 percent strongly agree) that job and vocational training programs would help veterans transition back to civilian life and help them get good paying jobs.
1. Veterans overwhelmingly support increasing investment in skills training. More than nine-out-of-ten veterans (95 percent) support increasing investment in skills and technical training, with a majority of veterans (55 percent) strongly supporting more investment.
2. Support for skills training remains extremely high even when investment is framed as “government funding.” Noting that increased funding for skills training would come from the government does little to dampen support, 78 percent of veterans outright support increasing “government funding” for additional skills training in the U.S.
3. Veterans are more likely to vote for candidates who prioritize skills training. By a 35-point margin, a plurality (49 percent) say they are more likely to vote for a candidate who supports increasing government funding for skills training, compared to just 14 percent who say it will make them less likely. This is consistent with two separate nationwide surveys of business leaders and likely 2020 voters, which ALG conducted earlier this year on behalf of National Skills Coalition. In the survey of business leaders, 54 percent say they would be more likely to support a political candidate who supports greater investment in skills training. Similarly, 59 percent of likely 2020 voters also say they would be more inclined to back a candidate who supports increasing government funding for skills training.
4. Many veterans feel unprepared for the current job market. Nearly half of veterans surveyed (41 percent) felt unprepared to enter the civilian job market after returning from active duty, which swells to 45 percent of veterans without a college degree, 58 percent among veterans of color, and 67 percent among female veterans. Veterans strongly disagree that the federal government is currently doing enough to help them readjust to civilian life – 69 percent disagree overall compared to just 27 who agree.
5. There is strong support for a range of proposals related to skills training. Six specific proposals related to skills training and education all received support from at least three quarters of survey respondents. Allowing GI benefits to be used for support services received particularly strong support from veterans of color (57 percent strong support), disabled veterans (58 percent strong support), and those age 18-34 (62 percent).
This was a nationwide online survey of 700 veterans to gauge their perceptions, priorities, and expectations of skills training, as well as other national economic policy issues. Overall, 88 percent of survey respondents are veterans who served in active duty, either overseas, in a combat zone, or in the US, while 12 percent served in the reserves or National Guard. The survey was conducted by ALG Research from October 22-27, 2019.