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Companies like CVS, Tesla, Electric Boat and others are working with local high schools and community colleges to train young workers with job skills that translate into good paying jobs. Direct connections between big corporations and local high schools are taking off. Volkswagen is helping schools in Tennessee modernize their engineering programs; Tesla is partnering with Nevada schools on an advanced manufacturing curriculum; and fisheries in Louisiana have created courses for students to train for jobs in “sustainability.”
There are 6.6 million job openings at the end of June 2018, many requiring specific skills in manufacturing, support, sales or materials management are the highest level in a decade.
Source: OECD, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, Brookings Institute – 6/28/17
There are 3.6 million high school students enrolled in career education programs that provide immediate skills to fill job openings in career fields where there is high demand.
Of interest are programs that provide good paying jobs in industries with careers with a future growing into more responsibility and management. Solar training programs sponsored by the federal government in 2009 worked with 400 local community colleges to try and meet the demand to fill 75,000 solar industry jobs by 2020. Over 30,000 students attended sponsored community college programs funded by the Department of Energy. Funding for the program ended in several years ago however a new program has been implemented called the Solar Training Network. The Solar Training Network supported by a foundation brings together job seekers, trainers and employers in the industry to fill job demands.
In July the GOP Administration announced a $150 million apprenticeship program to help fill 4 million jobs that are in the apprentice sector for candidates without college degrees, women, ex-offenders and workers of color. We applauded the program in a post then, but noted that a 40 % cut was included previously in the 2019 budget to a similar program in the Department of Labor – so staying power is a concern.
We are excited to see all these job training programs begin to get the visibility and funding to move ahead. Though from our perspective with millions left out of the economic mainstream and with millions of jobs to be filled a massive jobs set of programs needs to be carefully designed and funded in the billions of dollars to even begin to come close to meeting the need and having an economic impact.