By: Richard Dumaresq
Executive Director, PA Association of Private School Administrators
We continue to hear policy makers discuss the mismatch between employer skill needs and the existing skills of the workforce. Career-focused schools actually see this disconnect every day. Employers in a region may have multiple job openings for skilled workers in a particular field. Yet, few students at career schools enroll in those programs in sufficient quantities to meet employer demand. People often dont know what the high demand careers are or where they can go to get the right skills.
One suggested solution is to develop a user friendly web portal that would directly answer three questions:
What are the high demand jobs/careers in the Commonwealth by region?
What specialized skills are needed to be eligible for these careers?
Where can someone go to secure the necessary skills to meet the demand?
This information can be extracted from various sections on the Department of Education and Labor and Industry websites and loaded onto the portal. The portal could be linked to PHEAA, US Department of Education and other sites to outline financial aid options.
Public relations releases about the portal should then be sent to school guidance counselors, business associations (chambers, etc.), the media and public libraries. This should promote an increase in the supply of high-demand skilled workers.
A web design company estimated that such a portal, loaded with selected Department of Education and Labor and Industry data, would cost between $3000-$5000 to develop.
Our 280 private career-focused educational institutions in Pennsylvania, with over 73,000 students, are prepared to help bridge the supply-demand skills gap in the workforce with our certificate, diploma and associate degree programs.
The Triadvocate is a publication of Triad Strategies, LLC, a bipartisan lobbying, public affairs, strategic communications, grassroots advocacy, issue management consulting firm located in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, with offices in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh