The issue isn’t what schools are teaching, but where they place the focus. About 11 million Americans are unemployed, yet businesses are unable to fill 4 million jobs. Those figures point to an increased need for welders, construction workers, and other skilled tradesmen.
The skills gap represents a unique challenge, as many understand the value of skilled trades, yet don’t want their children to enter into them. Stereotypes revolve around the idea that these jobs, not requiring a four-year degree, are less desirable. How can Georgia engage youth in these opportunities, while addressing the perception of skilled trades?
This is one of the most important questions for shaping Georgia’s future. The answer lies in building upon a history of collaboration between the public and private sectors.
Two initiatives offer reason to be hopeful: GoBuild Georgia, a campaign to educate young people on the value of learning a trade while inspiring them to consider careers as skilled tradesmen; and the Governor’s High Demand Career Initiative, which connects the business community and those responsible for training its workers.
In order to remain a leading destination for business, Georgia must build a workforce designed for the future. Looking back on our extraordinary past, I am confident we’re prepared for the challenge.