December 3, 2014
I last wrote about the Skills Gap and now I want to show how it affects occupations. According to the Fall 2014 Newsletter of NCDA Career Developments, four occupations appear likely to experience continuing shortages: Welders, Machinists, Advanced Manufacturing Machine Operators, and Computer Specialists.
Machinists and Welders are found primarily in the manufacturing industry, which had been in long-term decline until recently. Trade jobs fell out of favor as the American view of success became a college degree. As a result, there have been few entry-level workers entering the fields and the existing workforce is aging. Now with the booming manufacturing industry the need for skilled machinists and welders is unmet. Advanced manufacturing machine operators are increasingly required to have high levels of computer, mathematical, scientific, and mechanical skills rarely taught in the proper combination in schools. Finally, Information Technology jobs are rapidly increasing with constantly changing apps and languages and will continue to rise as use of mobile devices, cloud computing, and social media expand.
To address these issues in the long term, President Obama has set a priority of increasing the number of students and teachers who are proficient in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). These programs will identify and implement effective approaches for improving STEM teaching and learning, facilitate the adoption of effective STEM instructional practices nationwide, and promote STEM education experiences that prioritize hands-on learning to increase student interest and achievement in the STEM fields.