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Jeb Bush: America is failing its workforce

April 8, 2021. Summarized by summa-bot.

Compression ratio: 20.5%. 1 min read.

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush takes part in a discussion at a George and Barbara Bush Distinguished Lecture, Friday, Sept. 27, 2019, at the University of New England in Biddeford, Maine. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)

America doesn't have a jobs problem. It has a pathways-to-jobs problem problem. Our economy is producing jobs -- there were 7.4 million open jobs as of February in the midst of a pandemic -- but our education system isn't preparing people to fill those jobs.

According to a study by PwC, roughly three out of four working Americans are ready to learn new skills to stay employable, but government-sponsored job training programs have a mixed-to-poor track record.

The problem is that our workforce and career preparation programs, in our school systems, colleges and various technical training centers, fail most Americans who want to better themselves.

We need to link learning and work-preparation programs from K-12 through college and early career stages.

Students can start earning college credits through Advanced Placement, dual enrollment and International Baccalaureate programs while still in high school.

For example, a relevant program in systems engineering, co-designed by companies in need of IT engineers, would prepare hundreds of students each year for a high-growth career.

Either way, we have to do far more to train people for the millions of "middle-skill" job openings -- think sales, construction, repair, transportation -- that either exist now or will exist soon and that require some kind of post-high school education but not college.

In Tennessee, high schools, technical colleges and employers are encouraged to coordinate how they value course credits so that students can expect good-paying work in growing industries, even without a bachelor's degree, and a potentially higher salary if they gain additional certifications and college coursework.

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