PPI Calls for Bolder, Innovative Initiatives to Bridge Modern Skills Gap

October 18, 2019 by Dan McCue
The campus of Georgetown University. (Photo by Dan McCue)

WASHINGTON – The Progressive Policy Institute is calling for a more aggressive approach to bridging America’s skills gap following House Democrats’ introduction of major legislation to reauthorize the landmark Higher Education Act.

The centrist public policy think tank said though reauthorization is long overdue, the new legislation, called the College Affordability Act, proposes mainly marginal improvements to a  broken higher education financing system.

Moreover, the Institute said, it doesn’t do enough to help people who don’t go to college – the majority of young Americans – acquire the skills they need to land solid, middle-class jobs that remain unfilled in abundance.

“As the College Affordability Act demonstrates, Congress is eager to grapple with Higher Education Reauthorization, but current proposals are marginal improvements on a broken system,” said Ryan Craig, author of a policy report released Thursday through the organization’s website.

According to Labor Department statistics, despite the nation’s low unemployment rate, 7.3 million jobs remain unfilled, many of them high-paying, high-skill positions.

Survey after survey has suggested the reason for this is employers are unable to find skilled workers.

The report by Craig on behalf of the Progressive Policy Institute assesses conventional remedies and presents creative alternatives for all young people, whether or not they are college-bound.

“Democrats can become the party of workforce development in addition to the party of college,” Craig said, “and if they can, not only will they help return economic power to their traditional working-class base, they’ll have a shot at winning back these crucial voters in 2020 and beyond.”

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