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Former Maine Gov. John R. McKernan Jr. is senior adviser and past president of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation.
As senior adviser, he counsels on a broad range of issues impacting the business community. McKernan also serves as chairman of the Foundation’s Center for Education and Workforce Advisory Board.
McKernan is chairman and CEO of consulting and investment firms McKernan Enterprises, Inc. and Nottingham Equity, Inc. in Portland, Maine. Until August 2012, he was chairman of the board of directors of Education Management Corporation where he served as CEO from 2003 to 2007 and still serves as a director.
McKernan is on the boards of directors of BorgWarner, Inc., Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, and the American Action Forum, a Washington, D.C., policy institute. He is chairman of the board of directors of the Foundation for Maine’s Community Colleges.
He served his native state of Maine for two terms in the U.S. Congress from 1983 to 1987 and then as governor for two, four-year terms from 1987 to 1995.
During his two terms as governor, McKernan was chairman of the Education Commission of the States and the National Education Goals Panel and was recognized as an Outstanding Governor by the Association for Talent Development. He is the author of Making the Grade, a book on youth apprenticeship.
McKernan has a B.A. from Dartmouth College and a J.D. from the University of Maine School of Law. He and his wife, former U.S. Sen. Olympia J. Snowe (R-Maine), reside in Falmouth, Maine, and in Washington, D.C.
The skills gap has been pigeonholed for many years as an education issue and left to policymakers, educators and administrators to fix. But as the top consumer of our education system, the private sector has a huge stake in this challenge and can't afford to wait for others to find a solution.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again—we have jobs without people and people without jobs. So, what is going on here? In the business world, this is called the ‘skills gap’.