Closing the Skills Gap
CLOSING THE SKILLS GAP, ONE PERSON AT A TIME
By Larry Elle, President of the Professional Development Collaborative
Recently there have been a series of articles in the Boston Globe, Boston Business Journal and various local media outlets outlining the difficulty Massachusetts firms are having in finding adequately skilled workers. The mismatch between the needs of employers and today’s workforce is slowing our state’s economic recovery and hurting the thousands of job seekers who aren’t getting hired because they lack key skills.
There are many causes for this skills deficit, among them is the dis-investment by employers in employee training, a trend that began during the Great Recession. Many employers have pulled the plug on workplace training because of the increasingly short tenure employees have with any one employer. Average length of employment is now around four years. Given this fact, there is less incentive for employers to offer skills-based training even though it’s well-documented that these types of offerings greatly improve the effectiveness of an organization. Why upgrade the skills of an employee if they are likely to be laid-off after the next reorganization or buyout?
The reality of the situation is that professional training will continue to fall on the shoulders of the worker, not the employer. This is a costly proposition for everyone in the workforce, especially those unemployed or in some sort of career transition. When employed, people are better able to afford pricey university classes or private, for-profit sponsored training programs but for laid-off workers, the high costs of upgrading skills is often prohibitive. Since 2010, the Professional Development Collaborative has addressed this critical problem by providing quality, classroom-based trainings to Boston-area workers during times when they need it the most, but can afford it the least.
I’m truly grateful for the many volunteers who dedicate their time and expertise to fulfilling the PDC’s unique mission of providing affordable training to transitioning professionals, helping us supply area employers with the skilled staff they need to succeed. I am confident that through the hard-work and dedication of our volunteers, the Professional Development Collaborative will continue to be successful in closing the skills gap, one person at a time.
Larry Elle, President