Is the U.S. Workforce Supply Chain Broken? Implications of National Trends


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From the Penn IUR and Penn GSE sponsored conference:

“Preparing Today’s Students for Tomorrow’s Jobs in Metropolitan America: The Policy, Practice and Research Issues"

May 25-26, 2011

Organized by Laura Perna, a professor in Penn GSE, and Susan Wachter, a professor in Penn’s Wharton School, “Preparing Today’s Students for Tomorrow’s Jobs” explores the most effective institutional and public-policy strategies to be sure high school and college students and adult learners have the knowledge and skills required for future employment.

“The conference addresses such critical questions as: How do we define success with regard to the role of education in preparing students for work?” Perna said. “How well are different educational providers preparing future workers? What is the role of public policy in improving connections between education and work?

“It seeks to improve our understanding of several fundamental dimensions of this issue through insights from federal, state and local policy leaders, college administrators and researchers.”

Guest speakers include Eduardo Ochoa, assistant secretary of the U.S. Department of Education; former Pennsylvania Gov. Edward Rendell; Lori Shorr, chief education officer to Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter; Charles Kolb from the Committee for Economic Development in Washington, D.C.; Claudia Neuhauser from the University of Minnesota; Bethany Krom from the Mayo Clinic; and Harry Holzer from Georgetown University.

“Much recent attention focuses on the need to improve high school graduation and college degree completion. But, relatively less attention has focused on whether graduates and degree recipients have the skills and education required by employers,” Perna said.

The event is sponsored by the Penn’s Pre-Doctoral Training Program in Interdisciplinary Methods for Field-Based Research in Education, with funding from the U.S. Department of Education’s Institute for Education Sciences in collaboration with Penn’s Institute for Urban Research.

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Is the U.S. Workforce Supply Chain Broken? Implications of National Trends

  1. 1. Is the U.S. Workforce Supply Chain Broken? Implications of National Trends University of Pennsylvania ▪ May 2011
  2. 2. Nationally, employers expect employees to use a broader set of skills SOURCE: Hart Research Associates (2010) Learning Outcomes Desired by Employers
  3. 3. Current workforce demands indicate acute labor surpluses and shortages (Nationally) <ul><li>Current Workforce Surpluses and Shortages </li></ul>SOURCE: Light, J. (2011). Labor Shortage Persists in Some Fields. Wall Street Journal
  4. 4. And future workforce projections indicate on-going shortages, especially in high growth career fields (Nationally) SOURCE: Derived from ACT’s The Condition of College and Career Readiness , 2010
  5. 5.
  6. 6. BHEF’s College Readiness, Access, and Success Initiative (CRI) addresses this challenge by: <ul><li>Developing, documenting and disseminating replicable models of education improvement and workforce alignment </li></ul><ul><li>Collaborating with member to lead education and workforce projects in their communities </li></ul><ul><li>Further developing BHEF’s unique tools and resources to support education stakeholders leading high-impact change around college readiness, access, and success activities.  </li></ul>
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  9. 9. <ul><li>These shortages, especially in STEM, are the result of systemic leaks in the production and career pipeline </li></ul>
  10. 10. American students’ math proficiency and STEM career interest decline throughout high school SOURCE: ACT. (2008). Analysis of the EPAS Data provided to BHEF by ACT.
  11. 11. By 12 th grade, only 16% of students are math proficient and interested in a STEM career SOURCE: ACT. (2008). Analysis of the EPAS Data provided to BHEF by ACT.
  12. 12. Once those students enroll in college, undergraduate STEM attrition by major is also substantial *includes Chemistry, Physics, Earth and Planetary Sciences SOURCE: Koff, R., Molter, L., & Renninger, K.A. (2009). Why Students Leave STEM Fields: Development of a Common Data Template and Survey Tool. A report to the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.