Nov 04, 2019 - 9:00am

A Solution to the Two-Gap Workforce Challenge


Chief Executive Officer, U.S. Chamber of Commerce

The digital revolution is creating economic opportunity, but it’s also creating disruption – and with it, insecurity for many businesses and workers. Much of this insecurity stems from two gaps that are preventing our nation from leveraging its talent and people from realizing their potential.

The first is a skills gap – too many people lack the skills or credentials required to compete for 21st century jobs. The second is a people gap – too many businesses can’t find the workers they need, when and where they need them. Today, 50% of open, available positions in this country go unfilled because candidates are not available. Closing both gaps is imperative to our competitiveness. That’s why last month at Talent Forward 2019, the nation’s premier annual workforce conference, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation launched a new chapter in its  Talent Pipeline Management® (TPM®) initiative: TPM Next.

TPM Next is the latest stage in the evolution of our Talent Pipeline Management program, which is now up and running in 29 states and Canada. TPM helps connect people looking for work with employers looking for people. 

How? TPM uses best practices from supply chain management to build partnerships between businesses and education systems. Businesses signal to education partners exactly what skills they need for existing jobs. Education providers tailor programs and curricula to those needs. And students graduate from these programs with real qualifications – often awaiting job offers. More than 2,000 employers across the country are employing TPM strategies.

In Arizona, for example, the Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce has embraced TPM to create a cybersecurity industry collaborative. This collaborative has brought together 60 cybersecurity companies to identify their common pain points, determine skill needs, and develop partnerships with higher education. The result? A new and improved talent pipeline creating clear career pathways for students and workers to fill in-demand cybersecurity jobs.

TPM Next will take these same strategies to the digital world. This innovative program – which we launched in partnership with the Association for Supply Chain Management – will include an online version of our in-person TPM Academy to create a more flexible and accessible platform for a global audience of employers to identify and meet their talent requirements. It also includes plans to develop an endorsement for TPM Academy graduates, consistent with those found in supply chain management.

Through TPM Next and other workforce initiatives, the U.S. Chamber Foundation will continue to foster the skills and talent companies need so that our economy can keep pace with rapid technological change.

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About the Author

About the Author

Thomas J. Donohue
Chief Executive Officer, U.S. Chamber of Commerce

Thomas J. Donohue is chief executive officer of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.