By Timm Runnion & Ivana Gibson
Although unemployment is now lower than it's been in more than 15 years, 6.7 million Americans remain unemployed and many more are underemployed in low-paying jobs. Meanwhile, according to the U.S. Department of Labor, there are currently 6.3 million job openings, which companies are struggling to find the right talent to fill. While many of these jobs are low-paying, many are not, which begs the question: What can be done to better align the unemployed or underemployed with employers who offer good jobs? And how can companies help to address their own skills shortages to remain competitive in the future? One approach that has proven to be successful in recent years consists of targeted partnerships between business and education. To facilitate these, companies typically begin by assessing their human capital needs and job requirements, and then collaborating with schools to produce workers with the needed skills. If U.S. companies are going to be competitive in the future, they need to be more proactive about training tomorrow's workforce today.