A Closer Look

Workforce Development – Five principles

Almost 40 percent of American employers say they cannot find people with the skills they need, even for entry-level jobs. Almost 60 percent complain of lack of preparation, even for entry-level jobs. On the other hand, this “skills gap” represents a massive pool of untapped talent, and it has dire consequences, including economic underperformance, social unrest, and individual despair.

The skills gap takes different forms. In some cases, it is a matter of youth struggling to enter the workforce; in others, it is midcareer learners who have lost their jobs because of factory closings or layoffs, and who now must adapt. Whatever the circumstance, when people are disconnected from the workplace, they often disconnect from other social institutions as well. This is not healthy—neither for those left out nor for the societies in which they live.

Recognizing the importance of this subject, McKinsey has done extensive research on global workforce-development programs and economic strategies.1 We have also worked with a number of state, local, and national governments.

So based on our research and experience, we have identified five principles that we believe should be the foundation of workforce-development programs—for funders, participants, and employers.

1. Define geographic assets and identify target professions.
2. Deliver ROI to employers and workers.
3. Support comprehensive, demand-driven training methods.
4. Assess and prepare learners before they start training.
5. Coordinate the workforce-development process centrally.

Chosen excerpts by Job Market Monitor. Read the whole story at Closing the skills gap: Creating workforce-development programs that work for everyone | McKinsey & Company

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