Training Unemployed for Specific Jobs Could Solve Many Problems
Creating Private Sector Jobs
Some years ago when I was president of the
There was more than a little exaggeration in that comment, but it reflects an attitude I encountered many times during my years with the NAM. In every survey of NAM members we conducted when I was there, a majority of respondents inevitably replied that finding qualified job applicants was one of their biggest headaches. Workers in modern manufacturing must be deft with math and science. They need to know how to read blueprints and program computers. But these skills are sorely lacking among the unemployed. We have a critical need to have our young people as well as displaced workers focus on STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering, and math).
There is a great debate in
I suggest a cooperative program, jointly funded by government and business, to train unemployed workers for specific jobs that need filling now. There are a variety of programs out there providing training to the unemployed, and many of them are very good, but they rarely include a direct transition from training to employment. Too often, unemployed workers go through these programs only to discover there are few if any opportunities for them, even with their newly acquired skills.
I have heard many small manufacturers complain that these training programs, usually run in conjunction with community colleges, are not in sync with real-world workplace needs. Give us that training money, they say, and we will train applicants to do the jobs and then put them directly to work.
I think that is worth a try -- at least as part of a more comprehensive job creation program. The program should be jointly funded by a foundation or government grant, plus money from participating businesses. The key ingredient should be employers with jobs that need filling who will pledge to provide employment to people who complete their training programs successfully. The employers will not be able to complain about the training because they will be the ones providing it. They will get to know the workers personally, and whether or not they are qualified to do the jobs. Based on my own experience at the NAM, I believe a program like this could bring a significant number of people into the workforce in a relatively short period of time.
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