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The Agurban

#633 – Tackling 5 Million U.S. Job Openings That Can’t Be Filled

May 2, 2017


Over the past year, we have talked about the labor shortage in manufacturing and the plight of filling available openings with qualified employees. We were pleased to see the following report featuring IBM CEO Ginni Rometty. While it is very early, we are optimistic that this is at least a step in the right direction.

IBM CEO Rometty: Tackling 5 Million U.S. Job Openings That Can’t Be Filled

IBM CEO Ginni Rometty said the U.S. is facing a big workforce development problem and they are doing something about it.

“There are over 5 million jobs open in this country,” said Rometty during an exclusive interview with the FOX Business Network’s Maria Bartiromo. “The reason they are not filled is skills.”

That’s why IBM and the White House are working together to build what she calls “new collar” skills.

“We are in an era now, it doesn’t mean you have to have an advanced degree and so it’s not necessarily a blue collar job, it’s not white collar, we have a new collar,” Rometty said, describing most of these jobs as having two times the median salary.

Rometty met with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in March to discuss how to create apprenticeships and build these types of jobs skills. She said they were able to come up with three big ideas, but a main focus for the U.S. was an educational program called “Pathway to Technology Schools.”

“They are public schools. Think of it as a 6-year high school, kind of like a high school working with a community college and really the criteria are just teaching curriculum that businesses will hire,” she said.

The program is just one of the “practical steps” being taken by IBM and 300 other companies to scale mentorship and apprenticeship across the country, according to Rometty.

“The graduation and the success rate is eleven times compared to low income, five times compared to regular school and these kids really come out with an associates’ degree in 6 years,” she said. “We will be near 100 of these schools by the end of this year, almost 50,000 kids, we are already hiring them.”

Rometty added that the problem would need to be tackled by both businesses and the government and pointed out how Education Secretary Betsey DeVos “is very much on top of this.”

We understand this is very early and we will keep an eye out on the progress of the program.

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