National Workforce Development Month
The U.S. Senate officially designated September 2019 as “National Workforce Development Month.” This resolution was enacted to recognize the need for investment in the training, education and career advancement of the U.S. workforce. The resolution states, “Whereas investment in the education, training, and career advancement of the workforce in the United States, known as ‘workforce development’ is crucial to the ability of the United States to compete in the global economy.”
The Skills Gap
The U.S. economy is currently experiencing a skills gap. According to the National Skills Coalition, middle-skill jobs, which require more than a high school diploma but less than a college degree, make up 53 percent of the labor market. However, only 43 percent of workers are adequately trained to fill middle-skill jobs. The skills gap has had a detrimental effect on all industries, especially the healthcare, manufacturing and information technology fields.
Forty-six percent of employers have difficulty hiring qualified applicants as a result of the growing skills gap. Nearly 60 percent of employers have vacant positions for more than 12 weeks. Businesses who experienced hiring challenges reported an average of $14,000 loss per job when they were unable to find skilled employees. Because of the skills gap and the resulting hiring difficulties, employers are calling for a larger investment in skills training. Seventy-six percent of business leaders say an investment in skills training would help their business, and 79 percent want to see more government investment in skills training.
How CTE Can Help
Career and Technical Education (CTE) is an integral part of filling the skills gap. CTE courses are focused on developing real-world skills in pre and post-secondary educational settings. There are 16 career clusters and 79 career pathways within CTE; each specifically focused on developing individuals’ knowledge and skills in a particular career field. iCEV offers content for seven CTE subject areas:
One way for individuals to verify their knowledge and skills in a CTE area is to earn an industry certification. Industry certifications offer value to certification earners and potential employers. Those who complete industry certifications have a way to prove their aptitude in a specific area or field. Employers can be assured of the applicant’s ability because their knowledge and skills are authenticated by an industry leader. Studies have shown individuals who earn an industry certification are more likely to be employed one year after earning a certification and are more likely to receive pay raises, some as high as 42 percent. iCEV operates as a testing platform for 15 industry certifications:
Currently, more than 12.5 million high school and college students are enrolled in CTE courses across the nation. Studies show the high school graduation rate of those who concentrate on CTE courses is about 95 percent, 10 percent higher than the national average. Taking CTE courses can prepare individuals to enter in-demand, middle-skill jobs. By 2022, there will be more than 50 million job openings for those who specialized in CTE.
What’s the ROI?
States who invest in CTE and workforce development have seen a substantial return on investment (ROI). For example:
- Taxpayers in Wisconsin receive more than $12 for every $1 invested in workforce development.
- In Oklahoma, CTE graduates contribute $3.5 billion to the economy.
- Workforce development contributes $5.1 billion to the Colorado economy.
As seen by these statistics, investing in workforce development leads to financial gains and employment stability, both of which are vital to ensuring economic growth. As the U.S. continues to be a global leader in production and industry, it is imperative to support and train the next generation to fill the ever-growing list of in-demand jobs.
Workforce development is necessary to fill the skills gap, and CTE is a fundamental part of workforce development. At iCEV, our mission is to prepare the future workforce by offering innovative and engaging materials based on real-world industry needs.
Workforce Development Month and other campaigns can help raise awareness about the need for more skilled workers. How can you increase support for workforce development this month? We’d love to hear how you are showing your support; share your stories on social media and don’t forget to tag iCEV!