In a recent chat, Jay Block (author of the bestselling, “5 Steps to Rapid Employment”) made the observation that a near record number of job openings had been reported in March. The problem is finding qualified individuals to fill those positions. He noted that companies and colleges need to take a more collaborative approach to insure that a skilled workforce is available to fill positions as they open. Job coaches have to know exactly what skills are needed so they can do a better job of coaching and advising their clients in identifying and mastering the skill sets needed. That’s where the new paradigm shift needs to come in. In my assessment, communities, companies, and colleges need to enter into effective partnerships. Companies can use the colleges to help insure that individuals are taught the necessary skills to be productive employees. Colleges can use the companies as sources of information on what skills are needed, and to help their students land well paying jobs. Communities need to support such collaborations because as companies relocate, communities need to be able to provide quality neighborhoods, public schools, and community services.
This partnership cannot be in name only, just because it looks good in a press release. The partnership has to be an active, collaborative one. Communities that fail to support such partnerships will lose out on having companies relocate to their area, thereby losing out on the revenue income as a result of new people moving into the community. Colleges will lose out on the chance to increase enrollments, and companies will lose out on having qualified workers readily available.
Now the challenge is to find community leaders, business leaders, and leaders within higher education willing to let go of the past and implement effective new approaches.