Training and Education for 21st Century Jobs

A 21st Century New Deal would need to have education at its core.   We already have low unemployment.  What we do not have are enough good paying jobs.  We hear all the time that companies cannot find qualified workers.  So train people.  Educate people.  

Technology and industries have changed.   Adults who lose a job are not finding work that can replace their former income.  But trying to re-instate old jobs is not the answer.  Those jobs are gone.  

We need training and education for 21st century jobs.

We face the problem of equal education for all children as well as education and training for adults.

American education is not the best in the world.  The results of our education system has produced a 2 tiered society.    It has deteriorated into a reality that denies opportunity to many citizens.  Sadly this disparity is often not visible to those that do have access to good education.  

People fail to get training or re-training because of lack of access and lack of money to pay for their education.   In recent years we also face the scam of private, specialty schools that have not prepared their students adequately and have charged exorbitant fees for the training, especially compared to the expected income from those jobs.  This is the current system.  This needs to be the old system.

As with all big problems, a simple solution is not reality.  A comprehensive  approach is required.  We need a new perspective to create a modern system that will serve all people and help to produce an educated population capable of reasoning and thinking critically, trained and prepared to offer a valuable skill to society.   

Education cannot sentence people to huge amounts of debt.   Education must be free at most levels and at minimal cost for advanced degrees.   The pay back to society would be enormous.   

” Both on personal and national levels, education has been shown to increase economic growth and stability…..We live longer, fuller, and happier lives as learned and knowledgeable individuals….  Improved mental, physical and emotional health can all be attributed to education…. Education leads to feelings of “togetherness” and compatibility within a society.” (1)

“College-educated citizenry are more employable, less likely to engage in high-risk health behaviors, which decreases health costs, and are less likely to participate in any criminal activity.” (2)

“Data shows that adults who have attained higher levels of education are generally more likely to report stronger civic engagement, in terms of voting, volunteering, political interest, and interpersonal trust.” (3)

 I am not an expert on education.  Others will need to bring innovative ideas and fashion programs in the likeness of what is successful elsewhere.  We have to recognize and accept that what we have been doing is not working and be willing to borrow what does work from other countries.   

For adults we need to have programs that incorporate free access to training for new jobs.  The companies that constantly complain about an unskilled work force can contribute to these programs in a variety of ways.  They can provide funding to schools that train for the skills they need.   Companies can start apprentice and intern programs.  Industry can work with educational institutions to be sure that valuable skills are being taught. 

We have to stop pretending that companies cannot afford to spend money on training.  We already know that big companies are making record breaking profits every year.  Proper training will reduce turn over and save money for the company. 

At the same time, we must recognize that education in soft skills are more important than ever.  People need to understand how to communicate effectively.   Customer service skills are in high demand.   Who is training for that?

We cannot claim that the loss of old jobs and old technology hurt the economy.   Society and technology is always evolving and changing.  There will be new industries and new jobs.  We just have to be willing to invest in people and prepare them for the new jobs.

Childhood education is also in dire need.  Not every child has access to a good education. Childhood education has been funded through local property taxes.  This has perpetuated and exaggerated the deficits of low income communities.  We cannot have a society where all have access to opportunity when we so clearly provide substandard education to the poor.  It is fine to fund public education from property taxes but the taxes must be pooled across a whole state and then distributed equitably so that each child can benefit from the same level of education and services.

American education has a strong focus on testing.  We want statistical proof via test scores even though others have found that a focus on testing for childhood education is not productive.   Standardized testing ignores the individual needs of each community and each child.  We have to open our minds to new ideas and new ways to evaluate effectiveness.

The voucher and charter school movements are not reliable solutions to our education problems.  These programs make it incumbent on parents to find the best schools.  It does not insure that all children will get education in fully staffed and equipped schools where teachers are paid well for shaping the next generation.  Charter schools and voucher programs do not change the approach to effective teaching and they do not change how we value teachers and education as a society.

And finally, the point that really should be first…  we must value education.  

A current US trend to prefer a “plain talking” person over an educated person is a bad way to compare people.  Not everyone will be educated in the same skills or to the same levels.   Intellectuals and blue collar workers both need each other.  Education and communication can bring us together.  We need to value the work of all jobs with wages that afford people with more than just minimal basic needs.

Invest in education.                                                          Invest in our Future.

1-https://www.hastac.org/blogs/jackkunis/2016/12/08/benefits-higher-education

2- https://collegesuccessarizona.org/the-benefits-of-an-educated-population/

3- http://oecdeducationtoday.blogspot.com/2013/01/what-are-social-benefits-of-education.html

– https://www.globalpartnership.org/education/the-benefits-of-education

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