Category Archives: CAEL

Data Point #3: The U.S. Education Deficit and 46.8 Million New Jobs

Many business leaders and most talent management professionals know that the demographic shifts that are happening now and are projected to happen in the next several years will impact every organization’s ability to meet its business goals.  On top of demographic trends,  education trends are also going in the wrong direction.  Between 1997 and 2009 the U.S. position as a world leader in education has slipped from 4th to 11th, as an example.

According to Help Wanted: Projections of Jobs and Education Requirements through 2018, a report published by Georgetown University, the U.S. economy will create 46.8 million openings by 2018 – 13.8 million brand new jobs and 33 million “replacement” jobs,” positions vacated by workers who have retired or permanently left their occupation by 2018.

Good news for the economy and the working population of the U.S., right?  Well, maybe.

Let’s peel back just one layer of the onion and look at what these new and replacement jobs will require.  According to the Georgetown report, nearly 63% of these jobs will require workers with at least some college education.

This data projects that one-third of the new jobs will require a Bachelor’s degree or better and nearly 30% will require a two-year Associate’s degree or some college.  Only 36% will require a high school diploma or less – and that percentage of all jobs continues to decline.

Here’s the challenge for employers, according to the Georgetown report:  by 2018 the U.S. post-secondary education system will have produced 3 million fewer college graduates than required by the labor market.  And what if the economy recovers faster than expected with greater job growth and greater Baby Boomer retirements?  The delta gets even bigger.

Here’s where talent management professionals should be thinking creatively and strategically.

If the working population will not be educated enough for these 46 million new jobs, employers will have to be focused on educating them.

But how to begin?  Individual employers, groups of employers (aligned geographically or by industry) will have to have a multi-faceted approach, but the cost effective bet is starting with their existing workforce.  Organizations are going to have to educate their own workers and look to current best practice (tuition reimbursement programs, for examples) as well as innovate new approaches.

Strategic partnerships between employers and education institutions are beginning to create new education paradigms.  But that won’t be enough.  Other stakeholders will need to begin their involvement in educating the workforce:  local and regional economic development organizations, local workforce boards, state departments of labor and education, professional associations, labor unions – all will begin to partner with employers to deliver the educated talent they need.  Talent management leaders should be out in front on this issue, defining the skills outcomes required.

It’s clear that demand will outstrip supply in almost all occupational categories soon.  The sooner talent acquisition professionals and learning/development professionals in organizations begin to work together on workforce planning and tackling the education deficit, the sooner the talent pipeline will begin to be prepared for 46 million new jobs.

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Filed under CAEL, Education Deficit, Job Creation, Post-secondary education, Talent pipeline, Tuition Reimbursement, Uncategorized

“Thank you for saving my life” … what every non-profit board member wants to hear

Most business leaders give back.  They make financial donations, they volunteer, they serve on boards.  I’m no different.

I’ve been on a number of non-profit boards through the years.  All the organizations I supported had missions focused on the development of people, on making our talent pipeline more robust.  I was on the board of an organization that promoted the hiring of people with disabilities.  I was on the board of an organization that provided leadership development programs for young people.  I was on the board of the SHRM Foundation.

Currently, I serve as Chair of the Board of CAEL, the Council for Adult and Experiential Learning.  CAEL works at all levels within the higher education, public, and private sectors to make it easier for people to get the education and training they need.  It does critical policy and research work to ensure that working adults get access to lifelong learning.  An uphill road for sure.

And I’m on the executive committee of the board of JAG, Jobs for America’s Graduates.  JAG is a state-based national non-profit organization dedicated to preventing dropouts among young people who are most at-risk.  In more than three decades of operation, JAG has delivered consistent, compelling results – helping more than three-quarters of a million young people stay in school through graduation, pursue post-secondary education and secure quality entry-level jobs leading to career advancement opportunities.

JAG has provided infrastructure and support that has enabled more than 800,000 at-risk high school kids to graduate and move on to a job, college or the military.  JAG is changing lives pure and simple.

Here are just some of the results from the Class of 2010 – kids who graduated from high school last June:

  • The JAG graduation rate was 93%
  • Overall job placement rate was 54%
  • Full-time jobs rate of those working was 67%
  • Full-time placement rate was 88% (percentage of graduates engaged in full-time employment or a combination of employment and post-secondary education)
  • Further education rate was 47%

93% graduation rate.  That doesn’t exist anywhere.  But it does in JAG programs in 32 states and the U.S. Virgin Islands.  Routinely.

This program has worked for more than 30 years.  And you know what?  2011 was the toughest funding year in JAG’s history.  2012 will be even more difficult.  Deep budget cuts at the state level for education programs were the norm in 2011 and will be more draconian in 2012.  Sharp budget cuts of federal funding to Governors adversely impacted 9 of 32 states in 2011 with more to come in 2012.

I find this astonishing.  The education of our nation’s youth is one of the biggest issues we face.  If we’re to be competitive in the global economy we must focus on the development of the talent we have.  And it all starts in our elementary, junior and high schools.

Last week I attended the yearly JAG Leadership Awards luncheon in Washington, D.C.  More than 450 JAG high school students raised money to travel to D.C. to attend this event and the follow-on conference.  Some of these kids flew on a plane for the first time last week.  Many of them wore a suit for the first time.  Most of them had never been to our nation’s capital.

These kids are the future of the United States.  And most of these kids would have been dropped by our education system had it not been for JAG.  This was made very clear to me at the end of the lunch.

I was caught in the crush of students headed to the escalators.  A young man looked at my badge and said, “You look important.”  I responded, “No more important than you!”  He then asked if I knew Ken Smith, the President and founder of JAG.  I told him I did indeed know Ken.  The young man then held out his hand to me and introduced himself:  “I’m Ken Watkins from South Carolina.  Would you introduce me to Ken Smith?”

We reversed our direction and headed to the front of the banquet room.  When we got there, I introduced the two Kens.  The student from South Carolina looked at the President of JAG and said, “I asked to meet you because I wanted to thank you for saving my life.”

It was a quick conversation and the elder Ken quite naturally told the young man that it was really his own commitment and perseverance that saved his life – and to keep up the hard work.  I think the younger Ken understood, but it was clearly important to him to thank the man who founded the organization that provided his safety net.  It was a very moving moment – for all of us.

So I think of the other 799,999 students like young Ken from South Carolina who, over 30+ years, have responded to the opportunities created by JAG and who have entered our economy as educated, hard working citizens and contributed to the economic success of the United States and their families.

It’s important to know that in these times of political dysfunction and lack of political leadership ,that there are people and organizations who keep the prize in mind.  Who keep moving us forward.  Organizations like JAG and CAEL.

So the next time a non-profit asks you to get involved, to make a donation or to serve on their board, please seriously consider their request.  We’re adding to the talent pipeline.  We’re educating our nation.  We’re saving lives.  And if you have jobs that young people could perform, find the JAG organization in your state and interview some JAG kids.  You’ll probably hire them all!

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Filed under CAEL, JAG, Leadership, Non-profit Board service, Talent development, Talent pipeline, Uncategorized