In 2009, ASTD conducted a poll in which 79 percent of respondents
said their organization faced a skills gap - a significant gap
between an organization's current capabilities and the skills it
needs to achieve its goals. And a year later, evidence is mounting
that the skills gap is a contributing factor to employers' struggle
of filling vacant jobs, even with an unemployment rate of 9.6
ASTD identified changing jobs and lagging educational attainment
for needed skills as two underlying causes of the skills gap in its
the Skills Gap" and its "Addressing
the Skills Gap" InfoLine.
NPR examined these factors in its recent series, "The
Skills Gap: Holding Back the Labor Market."
"There's not much demand for new houses or commercial buildings,
and that means not much demand for architects or crane operators or
escrow officers," explained NPR's Wendy Kaufman during the November
16 Morning Edition broadcast. "There are fewer jobs in
other parts of the economy too. Think travel agents, newspaper
reporters, and mid-level managers."
Kaufman continued, "Many of the chairs now being filled are in
highly technical and specialized fields. And it's not that easy to
go from being say, an architect, to a software engineer or from an
escrow officer to an airplane mechanic."
A November 16 All Things Considered segment explored the
skills needed in today's economy.
"The difference between a white collar and a blue collar job is
over," Ed Gordon, president of Imperial Consulting Group and author
the Global Talent Showdown: How Businesses and Communities Can
Partner to Rebuild the Jobs Pipeline told NPR. "The jobs
that will be esteemed are going to look a lot more like "Star Trek"
because the whole economy around the world is further going into
more and more advanced technology."
Gordon's comments reflect findings from the
Bureau of Labor Statistics that indicate within the next five
years 76 percent of U.S. jobs will require highly skilled workers -
those with special skills in science, technology, engineering, or
As the emphasis on developing skills related to science, math,
technology, and engineering increases, the preparedness
of high school graduates in the U.S. to develop these skills
becomes crucial. Recognizing this, the National Assessment
Governing Board is hosting a webinar on Wednesday, December 8, at
11:00 a.m. EST., about the achievement levels of twelfth grade
reading and mathematics skills. Presenters from the education and
business sectors will discuss the state-level data from 11 states
Visit http://nagb.org/business.htm for
more information about the webinar and to register.