The association joined several representatives from the nation’s largest employment sectors to address what employers can do to fill the current skills gap between employees and employers.
The discussion moderated by LinkedIn Head of U.S. Policy Nicole Isaacs brought together industry leaders collectively representing more than $1 trillion in revenue of the United States economy, including:
- Bill Hanvey, president and CEO, Auto Care Association
- Michael Bellaman, CEO, Associated Builders & Contractors
- Mark Carrier, CHA, chair, American Hotel & Lodging Association
- Ellen Davis, executive director, National Retail Federation Foundation
- Rob Gifford, executive vice president, National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation
- Todd Thibodeaux, CEO, CompTIA
The panel discussed the top challenges to finding and retaining talent in their industries and how the advancement of technology is transforming the jobs and skills needed in their industries. A theme among the panelists as a solution to the skills gap arising from technological innovation was the need for workforce boards, employers and educators to come together to develop apprenticeships and educational programs that can be fostered by employers.
“Having worked for a German company, I’ve seen the success of apprenticeships, which are more commonplace in Europe, especially for the tech sector,” said Hanvey. “There’s a difference between an apprenticeship program and a mentorship program and I feel both are necessary. People like to pass on their knowledge of their industry and trade, and we’re working on a formalized mentoring program in our space. We’re also working at the college level to educate the students on the viability of our industry. There’s a balance between the two programs of teaching necessary job skills through and apprenticeship program and developing those skills through active mentorship. We have to nurture our industry’s most valuable asset, our workforce, throughout their careers to ensure future success.”
The panelists concluded that laying the groundwork from the bottom-up through apprenticeships and training programs will be instrumental in creating an attractive, approachable and achievable career path in their industries