A Tangled Web of Workforce Issues

The skills gap is not the only factor to blame for workforce shortages, an article by Pew Charitable Trusts finds.

The skills gap is frequently raised with regard to Maryland’s workforce gaps, in reference to everything from our public education programs, to developing the State as a cybersecurity hub and bolstering the struggling local construction industry. (See, for example School Construction Workforce Shortages – Bracing the Gaps or UMD President Promotes Programs to Keep Maryland’s Economy on Top.)

The conversation that follows a discussion of the skills gap often focuses on providing better education and training opportunities, both to younger generations in our schools, and those retraining in our community colleges. (See, for example: Skills to Compete: How Our Schools Are Strengthening Maryland’s Future Workforce)

An article by Pew, however, states that this focus may overlook the integration of employment issues with many other aspects of workers’ lives, including transportation and childcare needs.

From The Pew Charitable Trusts,

Throwing more public dollars at education and training won’t be enough to connect willing workers to open jobs. In many places, employers are also setting wages too low, defining qualifications too narrowly, or not recruiting widely enough. Many people who are eager to work can’t because they lack transportation, or don’t have anybody to watch their children during the workday.

For more information, see the full article from Pew, Why the ‘Skills Gap’ Doesn’t Explain Slow Hiring.