For the first time on record, the number of job openings in the United States is larger than the number of Americans who are unemployed and actively looking for work. This is a good problem to have in today's U.S. economy, but it is a pressing challenge for the future. Companies like ours are creating the type of highly-skilled jobs that our nation needs, but many companies cannot find workers with the skills to fill them.
With a key Senate committee scheduled to consider legislation to reauthorize and modernize the Carl D. Perkins Act, policymakers have an opportunity to address this "skills gap" in a lasting way.
This bill would prioritize existing federal education dollars for career and technical education (CTE) programs that better equip students with in demand skills. It is an opportunity for Congress to support a brighter employment future in this country by providing students with greater access to relevant skills education aligned with 21st century careers.
Our nation's approach to traditional college degrees and credentials remains an important part of the solution. But the current American education system has not accounted for a surging number of modern, middle-class jobs that do not always require a traditional four-year degree.
These aren't blue collar or white collar jobs, they're "new collar" roles that prioritize capabilities over credentials. With nearly 16 million new collar jobs to be added in the U.S. by 2024, we must ensure our students have the skills they need to take on these roles.
Today, too many college graduates and mid-career professionals lack the skills required for open positions. In our role as CEOs, we experience this problem first hand. Together, our companies employ hundreds of thousands of people, but we and many companies like ours find it challenging to fill thousands of jobs across the country.