While many of us were in getaway mode this past Labor Day weekend and enjoying some much needed downtime with family and friends, we would do well now to think about the workforce of the future. This country’s most valuable asset is the next generation of leaders and workers equipped with the skills and knowledge to keep America competitive; they’re at risk of forfeiting lucrative jobs unless we make huge investments in education.
At the Children’s Defense Fund National Conference in Cincinnati this past July, Federal Reserve Chairman, Ben Bernanke, stated that to improve opportunities for all children and give them a chance to succeed in the globalized economy, any strategy for economic growth must include investing in education. It’s all well and good to talk about emerging technologies, sustainability and a green energy economy, but we must have an educated high-quality workforce that can compete in the global marketplace. Education and training are fundamental to future financial stability which depends on every child in this country being equipped with tools to perform.
New jobs will require a workforce capable of meeting job needs, especially for highly technical and skill-based jobs. American voters recognize that the U.S. is falling behind other countries when it comes to education and want political leaders to make education a higher agenda priority according to a national opinion survey released in August by the staff of The Center for the Next Generation.
TCNG also released a report The Competition that Really Matters: Comparing U.S., Chinese, and Indian Investments in the Next Generation Workforce in collaboration with the Center for American Progress that detailed how the U.S. is struggling to compete. Make no mistake about it; only with education as a national priority and real investment by all levels of government will the United States remain economically competitive and productive. Without this commitment, we’ll consign another generation to low-skill, low-wage jobs and higher rates of poverty.
I’d love to hear your views on this critical issue.
A version of this article appeared on September 3, 2012, in Baby Boomer Interests, by Bette Boomer
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