Let's leave behind the debate on a national skills gap

While the debate on whether the skills gap is real rages on, we still have workers without jobs and jobs with no workers to fill them.


Turns out a national lens on the problem is not actionable. We can't look at the skills gap at a macro level. It is when you look hyperlocally that regional skills gaps (and surpluses) appear. And they look different for each area. This local lens can empower regional leaders to address their very specific needs. 




Our latest report  The New Geography of Skills, which Strada Institute for the Future of Work is launching today in partnership with Emsi, uses a new model called “skill shapes” to illuminate these regional differences so that we can start building more precise educational pathways for jobs with promising futures. 


The premise is simple: The skill shape for any role like a software engineer, machinist, or digital marketing specialist looks different depending on whether an employer is seeking someone to fill that role in Wichita, Seattle, or St. Louis. At the same time, every single one of us has a unique skill shape; yours looks different than mine based on the knowledge, capabilities, and experiences we bring to the table. The skill shape of the supply of talent in Columbus looks very different from the skill shape of people in Indianapolis. When they are compared, these data can expose skills gaps and surpluses for any job in any industry domain and region.


If policymakers, workforce and economic developers, learning providers, and employers understand these gaps, the solutions to design and develop well-calibrated learning pathways to close those gaps become much more obvious.


Read more about this new model, which will give cities and regions a new way to compete. In order to build a new learning ecosystem, cities and states need concrete ways to leverage real-time, dynamic labor market information and analytics. This report will illuminate the resulting new geography of skills

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Michelle R. Weise 

Future of Work | Rise & Design LLC

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