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A “jobs” shortage or a “skills” shortage? June 5, 2006

Posted by Tom in Community, Innovation, Media, Workforce.

Dr. Charles Lawton, a columnist at Maine Today, makes the argument that his state has the people, but the people lack the skills needed to be viable in today's economy. Quite a provocative piece – permit me to share a few of his thought-provoking comments:

Just as the conventional wisdom that "we're losing all our manufacturing jobs" misses the success of specialty manufacturers, so the conventional wisdom that "you have to go to college" deprives many intelligent and talented young people of the opportunity to explore production skills that, in the end, may well lead to as much education as a college degree but come to it through a different approach to learning and a different choice of subjects of study.

In short, just as schools must improve their knowledge of the actual job skills required in the business world, so too must businesses improve their knowledge of the career paths available to their employees. The 19th-century model of human "help" as a mechanistic part of the assembly process no longer applies in Maine.

Those elements of the process have been outsourced. The 21st-century model demands that employers view their workers not as machines but as part of the innovation process.

Interesting thoughts, indeed. I'd suggest everyone read the entire article.  Thanks to the Indiana Economic Development Corporation's Karen SanClemente for the heads up.



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