Absolutely, says Dr. Bill R. Path, president of Oklahoma State University Institute of Technology.
Using the basic supply and demand model, Path lays out two scenarios in an article on the Huffington Post, where college graduates are the commodity, employers are the consumers and colleges are the suppliers:
Scenario A: If demand for college graduates increases and supply remains unchanged, a skilled labor shortage occurs, leading to a skills gap.
Scenario B: If demand for college graduates decreases and supply remains unchanged, a graduate surplus occurs, leading to higher unemployment among graduates.
Which one most accurately represents our current problem? Both, says Path.
“Employers (consumers) want graduates with greater technical skills, while colleges (suppliers) have remained unchanged, producing graduates in the same traditional disciplines,” Path said. “We essentially have the wrong supply for the present demand, and we need to do a much better job of preparing graduates for the demands of the modern workforce.”
Path listed a few key takeaways from the Demand Driven Training for the 21st Century workforce summit in Tulsa, Okla., July 23, that can help bridge the gap. They included:
- Partnership with industry is critical
- Awareness of career opportunities among workers and students must improve
- Industry-based certifications accelerate job placement
This is where merit shop construction training comes in. Merit shop training programs strive to equip budding craft professionals with the skills that are useful in today’s economy.
Learn more about merit shop training programs in the Construction Training section of this blog.