Closing the skills gap a top priority for the nation’s governors. The credential is essential

Montana Gov. Steve Bullock, this year’s chair of the National Governors Association, sees closing the skills gap as a paramount challenge, reports Governing magazine. That’s a conviction he shares with his peers. At the NGA’s winter meeting, even as many states reported job growth, there was concern about an opportunity gap.

At the convening of state leaders, the skills gap — the gap between millions of available jobs and the lack of proper training or education among the unemployed — was clearly a paramount concern.

Montana Democratic Gov. Steve Bullock, who has made “good jobs” the focus of his NGA chairmanship, said a witches’ brew of technology and automation, globalization and middle class stagnation will continue to threaten the jobs and livelihoods of millions of Americans over the next decade.

We’ve written about the persistent challenge employers face in finding workers with the skills required to thrive in a rapidly evolving economy. For good information on how employers and educators are addressing the challenge, we refer you to the Partnership for Learning’s Credential is Essential site.

The NGA heard from experts on how to improve credential attainment. Collaboration, as the Partnership for Learning emphasizes, is key.

“You as governors sit at the fulcrum point in being able to change the opportunity sets for your states, bringing together colleges, employers, nonprofits and company” to address workforce development needs, said former U.S. Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker.

Jamie Dimon, CEO of JPMorgan Chase told the group,

“This is the most prosperous economy the world has ever seen, and that probably will be true over the next 50 years, too,” Dimon said.

But he said that complaints that low-income workers are underpaid and hurt by shifts in the economy are both fair and accurate. “It is true we’re leaving behind a segment of society that doesn’t have education.”

The credential is essential.