In a recent article published on CNBC, CEO of the Institute of Workplace Skills and Innovation Nicholas Wyman shines a light on how important it is for our country to put a brighter focus on training our workforce with technical skills to counteract the dimmed economy and job market affected by globalization and growing technology. The article highlights three ways America can use technical education to fix the current skills gap that is hindering the nation’s economic development.
1. Lift the stigma hanging over vocational and technical education
“The reality is that today, there is a bevy of respectable, well-compensated, upwardly mobile careers that don’t require a traditional four-year education. Unfortunately, vocational study has a history of being seen as less respectable than attending university. But with unemployment and underemployment rates of college graduates at such high levels in the U.S., it’s time for this perception to change. It’s time to spread the word that skills training, perhaps now more than ever, is possibly the most reliable pathway to an interesting and rewarding career.”
2. Get young people engaged in the real world of work
A major reason so many young people are unemployed today is because they graduate from high school without the skills needed to enter the workforce if they choose not to go to college. By reinstating vocational education and apprentice in middle and high schools, and offering associate degrees and certifications, we can start to close the skills gap.
For example, the article explains that other nations such as Switzerland and Germany that make apprenticeships and vocational opportunities a part of mainstream education have significantly lower unemployment rates among young people. In these countries, vocational training accounts for 40 to 70 percent of degrees post-high school which leaves them with qualifications to lead them directly to a career.
3. Arming our future generation with real workplace skills
The article explains that in the near future, employers are going to want employees who have both book and on-the-job skills. With apprentices, craft training and other accreditations, young employees can obtain those skills that will lead them to high-paying, rewarding careers.
In fact, it is stated in the article that “One-third of two-year college grads with occupational majors out-earn their four-year college peers.”
The full article is available on CNBC.com.