Skip to main content

Workforce Training

To develop or enhance the skills of existing employees or members of any business or industry

Workforce Training

One of the biggest difficulties facing the country even before the worldwide pandemic was teaching the next generation of workers to use quickly evolving technologies in a more competitive global economy and limit the negative effects of these trends. With COVID-19, this problem has become more critical. 

By 2025, it is predicted that 40% of workers will require short-term training and reskilling. Maximizing the workforce’s capabilities in our country will be crucial for maintaining American leadership, wealth, and competitiveness. The epidemic has disproportionately displaced women, young people, people of color, and employees with lower levels of education. 

The “long-term jobless,” or such displaced employees, often have difficulty finding new employment the longer they remain unemployed. For most, getting a new career will require training in in-demand skills.

Government Programs

The Employment and Training Administration of the US Department of Labor finances job training programs to enhance the employment chances of adults, kids, and displaced employees. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration offers training programs to enhance workplace health and safety.

To improve safety and health in the mining industry, the Mine Safety and Health Administration offers training programs. States generally provide programs through the American Job Center network and are adapted to local economies to increase employees’ employability and earnings.

The Problem

The many training programs currently don’t focus on future skills, collaborating effectively, or solving worker concerns. Most workforce training in the US is funded jointly by companies and trainees. Outside of higher education, federally supported workforce training has declined for decades. 

Community colleges and other low-cost, open-enrollment schools get money from the federal, state, and municipal governments in addition to tuition. These open-access institutions teach more individuals than coding boot camps, apprenticeship programs, and government-funded programs put together, making them crucial training providers.

A workforce of lifelong learners who regularly update their technology skills and “soft” skills, such as critical thinking, communication, and creativity, is valued by employers. These skills cannot be automated but are required due to the pace of change, including the forced technological transformation that occurred due to the pandemic. 

Where the Government Needs To Step In

In response, the US will need to implement a thorough, cooperative strategy for constructing, upgrading, and retraining a prepared workforce for the future. The COVID-19 recession’s long-term unemployment and the anticipated future changes in labor demand necessitate investments in education and training as part of the policy responses.

During the pandemic, those with lesser levels of education were more likely to have lost their jobs and to have to start over in a different industry to find new employment. Access to training and education is vital for those whose jobs are not likely to return and those who wish to move into higher-earning professions.

A robust labor market recovery will depend on federal assistance for workforce training to help people acquire the many skills they will need for the various labor markets they will return to. This support will need to address the price and accessibility of training inside and outside of organizations. 

The best policies would also guarantee that workforce training is high caliber and results in improved labor market outcomes. As many have said, community colleges need to make their programs more affordable, but there are alternative training providers, such as community-based training programs and union-affiliated training.

Leaders in public policy should encourage both employed and unemployed people to prepare for the post-pandemic economy and encourage public-private collaborations among training institutions, including community colleges, high schools, and other training providers.

The following measures would need to be included in policies to improve the inventiveness and efficacy of the workforce development system:

  • Establishing rewards for jobless employees who improve their abilities.
  • Supporting jobless workers to keep a stable broadband connection so they may access online learning opportunities
  • Directing already available government funds to postsecondary skill-building initiatives
  • Giving workers additional alternatives for determining and acquiring the skills they need while also enhancing provider responsibility
  • Making it a national objective for all students to have access to education or training related to employment before or after graduating high school.
  • Expanding the availability of paid apprenticeships for employees and students at all career phases.

The Bottom Line

Employers, trainers, educators, and public policymakers must all work together to equip new workforce entrants with in-demand skills and upskill displaced and existing employees to meet the post-pandemic economy’s quickly changing expectations. All American employees require valuable, in-demand talents that provide doors to lucrative professional possibilities.

Register to Vote