In business today, no competition is tougher than the global race for talent. In every industry, every job sector, and every part of the world, employers are asking the same question: How are we going to find, train, and retain the best workers?
Ninety percent of the fastest-growing jobs in America require at least two years of postsecondary education. Over the next several years, the U.S. Department of Labor predicts there will be roughly four million new job openings in health care, education, and computer sciences alone. At the same time, nearly seventy eight million baby boomers are heading toward retirement. Yet, the nation's young people remain unprepared either to replace those workers or to fill new positions in high-growth areas—today, a third of all students do not finish high school. Up to half of those who do graduate lack the advanced literacy and math skills they need to succeed in postsecondary education and the workforce.
Further, given the quickening pace of change in workplace technology and the growing demand for flexible, highly-skilled employees in all sectors of the economy, not even the most experienced workers can afford to rely on existing skills. To remain competitive, businesses must invest not just in the preparation and recruitment of new talent, but also the continuing development of workers at all stages of their careers.
Unless America makes dramatic improvements in education and workforce training, it will pay a terrible price, risking its place as an economic superpower and its identity as a striving, middle-class democracy.
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