The United States is on track to add one million new information technology jobs this decade, and millions more in other skilled work – without enough formally prepared college graduates to fill them. Fortunately, millions of Americans have the aptitude, motivation, and even the skills to succeed in those jobs, to contribute meaningfully – to work, learn and earn to their full potential.
As of November 2017, there were 6.1 million job openings at U.S. companies – the highest on record – while 6.5 million unemployed Americans look for work. The growing mismatch between new job opportunities and old skills is further exemplified by the fact that 46% of employers report that they can’t find skilled workers to fill open positions.
Our much-discussed “skills gap” is caused mainly by an “opportunity gap” - and is producing a disastrous confidence gap. We have seen a sharp decline in the proportion of Americans who believe that hard work leads to progress, that their children will have good jobs. The U.S. labor market - with its counterproductive focus on academic pedigree, misaligned learning, backward looking financing - is failing our economy and society. We need to rewire the labor market to revive the American Dream.