Pulbic schools “lose” 6,829 students every day

The world of work is a great place to be if you can’t stand the excitement!

I just completed reading through two new studies: 2008 World of Work and Diplomas Count 2008.  Like I’ve been touting for years, employers and employees will feel they are living through a Perfect Labor Storm. If figuring out where to find the right people with the right skills isn’t hard enough, getting older and younger employees to share what they know seems to be a real problem that is getting worse.

For instance, the 2008 World of Work report, published each year by Ranstad, found that employees and employers agree on at least one thing:  hiring the right people with the right skills is the most important workplace challenge. This contrasts with last year’s report when employees saw retaining and motivating employees as the number one issue.

But the report also redefined the message about worker shortages:  “we’re not facing a talent shortage. We’re facing a knowledge gap.”  After speaking with thousands of workers from all the generations, the study deduced that “cross generational interaction is rare.” In fact, the report states “the transfer of knowledge between retiring generations of veteran workers and newer entrants to the workforce is unlikely.”  It goes on to say that “each generation sees itself as bringing different strengths to the workplace that don’t enhance or expand the strengths of those older or younger.”

If these workplace challenges weren’t enough, wait until you read this.  According to study released by the EPE Research Center 1.23 million high school students will fail to graduate in 2008.  That’s 6,829 students every day leave U.S. Public High Schools. That amounts to 3 out of every 10 students who enter 9th grade does NOT complete high school. As reported in earlier studies, that number gets even worse in certain areas where the graduation rate is less than 50%!!  Even in my home state of Pennsylvania, which has one of the highest graduation rates in the country, schools lose 170 students per day.

Based on just the information in these two reports alone, the war for qualified workers has only just begun.  From the graduation rates, it’s obvious that the pool of skilled workers will only shrink while the knowledge transfer gap between generations widens.


Ira S Wolfe