I’m pleased and honored to share this post from my colleague, friend, and author Edward E. Gordon. You can read more about Ed below.
The continuing U.S. unemployment crisis has left many workers believing there is no tomorrow. They have good reason. Since mid-2008, six million jobs have vanished.
But oddly enough the nation’s gross domestic product almost doubled to over $15 trillion during the last 10 years. This seems impossible when almost 30 million workers are now unemployed, underemployed, or have given up looking for employment.
Then how is it that with so many workers seeking jobs, 5 million U.S. jobs remain unfilled? Why can’t businesses fill them with the legions of unemployed Americans? Here are ta few facts driving a new job era.
U.S. productivity is increasing. In manufacturing and most other business sectors it’s not just advanced machines. It’s increasingly evident that many new advanced technologies are digitizing the whole economy.
Past history shows that today’s surge in productivity will create tomorrow’s jobs and raise living standards. New jobs will come from rising efficiencies in production and innovative technologies spawning new products and services throughout the entire economy.
The flip side to these breakthroughs is that today’s and tomorrow’s jobs require advanced technical skill levels. A workplace may need fewer people, but they must be better educated and able to work with advanced computer systems. This has become the new normal for employment whether it is in an office, production facility, hospital, law firm or service business.
These digitized jobs present a new problem. The consensus among employers is that people need to be reskilled for the new workplace. The urgent need to create more skilled workers is now a central political and economic concern in communities across America.
A new U.S. job era has arrived. The availability of better-educated talent with up-to-date career skills now largely determines where businesses will locate in the United States or anywhere in the world. Those communities that break down the structural barriers between businesses, education and community groups and collaborate to renew their talent creation and economic systems will attract new businesses and retain current ones. Those that don’t will wither and die.
I have coined the term, Regional Talent Innovation Networks (RETAINs) for such collaborative community ventures that are forming across the United States. (See my earlier blog, “Jobs-Jobs-Jobs” for more information on RETAINs.) They are built upon deeply held American values.
In this election year people are yearning for leadership that will produce solid employment growth. The RETAIN movement needs to be recognized and embraced as a viable way of instituting the long-term restructuring needed to stimulate employment in this new job era.
About guest blogger Edward Gordon
Edward E. Gordon is a leader with vision. He is President of Imperial Consulting Corporation in Chicago and Palm Desert, California. Gordon is a recognized international expert on talent, training, careers, and education related to business and economic development. Ed Gordon is the author or co-author of 17 books including Winning the Global Talent Showdown, The 2010 Meltdown, Skill Wars, FutureWork, Closing the Literacy Gap in American Business, Opportunities in Training and Development Careers, Literacy in America, The Tutoring Revolution, Peer Tutoring: A Teacher’s Resource Guide and Tutor Quest.