There’s More Skilled Work Than Workers — and That’s a Problem

Posted October 30, 2018, By the Annie E. Casey Foundation

Brooke DeRenzis and Rob Garcia of the National Skills Coalition

In America today: 54% of all jobs are middle-skill positions while just 43% of workers are trained to this skill level.

This mismatch — called a skills gap — can prevent businesses from hiring, job seekers from working and economies from growing.

In a new podcast episode, the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s Lisa Hamilton talks with the National Skills Coalition’s Brooke DeRenzis and Rob Garcia about building and sustaining a skilled labor force and why this work is so important for America’s children, families and future. At the time of the interview, Garcia worked in Atlanta, Georgia, as part of the Cobb Chamber of Commer

A huge thank you to DeRenzis and Garcia for chatting with us!

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What You’ll Learn in This Episode

  • The difference between low-skill, middle-skill and higher-skilled jobs.
  • What the term “middle-skills gap” means. 
  • How we can prepare workers for today’s job market. 
  • Policy hurdles and solutions to building a skilled workforce. 
  • The skill-building potential of sector partnerships and apprenticeships.
  • The roles that businesses and community colleges can play in building a skilled workforce.
  • Which industries are embracing apprenticeship programs.
  • What’s going well when we talk about building skills for today’s job market.

Conversation Clips

In Brooke DeRenzis’s own words…

  • “A skilled workforce has benefits not just for the workers themselves, but for their families…if you're able to earn a higher wage and find a family-supporting career, you're able to bring economic security to your family.”
  • “Although there's recognition that a skilled workforce is critically important, it's not always easy to think of investing in skills.”

In Rob Garcia’s own words…

  • “A lot of middle-skilled jobs are not only short on the talent themselves, but the talent they have already is expected to retire.”
  • “One of the most impactful voices [that policymakers] can hear from is the business community.”

About the Casey Foundation Podcast

CaseyCast is produced by the Annie E. Casey Foundation and hosted by its executive vice president and chief program officer, Lisa Hamilton. The series features Hamilton talking with experts about how we can build a brighter future for kids, families and communities.

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