Jobs, a word that stirs up many emotions, and as of late mostly worry. For those of all ages the economy is worrisome. From those who have been loyal employees at the same company for thirty years to those stepping off of campus this month with the ink still wet on their diplomas. All are troubled with what the future holds for them. Every year, at this time, the discussion resurfaces and as graduation inches closer for us here the thought of life after school becomes ever more prominent.
As one looks out across the world, a frightening picture can emerge. Depending on how you define “young workers” numbers can vary, but those fifteen to twenty-four years of age make up over three-hundred million of the unemployed global workforce. That is almost an entire United States of young people that are not working. The United States itself unfortunately boasts a 17.6 percent unemployment rate among those fifteen to twenty-five; over double the overall national unemployment rate. This actually looks pretty enticing when you cross the Atlantic to see how some of those in the Eurozone are doing, not to even mention what youth unemployment looks like in emerging economies that do not have some of the structure more mature markets experience. Since the unemployment rate only factors in those who are actively searching for work this presents a huge problem now and will cause only a greater increase in future deficiencies.
What complicates this situation even more is all of the job openings that exist, almost four million in the United States alone. Executives lament about the lack of necessary skills needed in today’s workforce. So what can be done? The obvious answer is education. Education that matters. Education in the broadest sense of the word. Those students who go off to a university campus after graduating high school are going to acquire many life skills and assimilate well into the professional world. However, with costs going up and funding going down this is becoming an ever fading possibility. In the technology age where information is so readily available there has to be a transformation of the way we educate. This involves vocational and trade schools. One need not look further than Germany, the model of vocational-company partnerships, to see the benefits of innovative solutions.
All bases must be covered in this transformation. Businesses who are disappointed that they are not receiving the people that possess skills they need have to contribute more to the education process. Governments must have greater foresight and see that cutting education funding does not just affect those who are looking to expand their horizons but damages the nation as a whole. Finally, students must realize their part in this. As formerly mentioned there has never been a generation with access to such immense knowledge. This must be used to better our knowledge as well as our prospects. When all of these factors combine, the amount of progress is limitless.