Assessing the Need - What is the Future of the US Workforce?

America is slowly coming out of the Recession of 2007—only to find itself on a collision course with the future: not enough Americans are completing college. By 2018, we will need 22 million new workers with college degrees, but will fall short of that number by at least 3 million postsecondary degrees. At a time when every job is precious, this shortfall will mean lost economic opportunity for millions of American workers.

Not long ago, America topped the list of many key education and innovation indicators. Today, looking at the same indicators, America is a nation falling behind. And since global competitiveness is certainly a top priority for the nation's businesses, we need to fix the problem.

Simply stated, the United States cannot compete without strong national policies that support innovation. These policies include:

  • increasing the focus on science, technology, engineering and math education
  • implementing internationally benchmarked standards and assessments to reflect readiness for college, the workplace and the global marketplace
  • aligning high school graduation requirements, state academic achievement standards and postsecondary entrance requirements
  • leveraging data systems to inform instruction, improve teaching, and aid interventions
  • ensuring that job training is relevant for jobs that exist today and for jobs in the future

For the United States to stay competitive globally, the American education system from pre-kindergarten through high school to postsecondary education and job training programs must adopt a can-do attitude regarding such policies.[1]

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