Why is it that each day we see a story about a company that can’t find workers, communities without jobs, and graduates not finding work?

It’s not that we don’t have jobs. 
We have 6.2 million unfilled jobs in the U.S., more than at any time in our history.

It’s not that we don’t have training. 
We have more capacity and more students enrolled in our community colleges, training programs and universities than at any point in history.

It’s not that we don’t have good people willing to work.
We have more high school graduates, vocational school and community college graduates, and university graduates than any time in our history. We have thousands of experienced, underemployed Veterans transitioning from the military.

All the same, more people are struggling to find good jobs than at any time in our history – and this is a problem that we can tackle right now in every community in the U.S. Let’s start with what’s broken and then address how to fix it.

First, job boards don’t work. Simply matching job descriptions to resumes does not lead to good outcomes and job descriptions don’t do a good job of telling an applicant what they need to do to be successful. Ask any employer, all you get is a time-wasting list of unqualified candidates to sort through.

Second, when an individual is not well qualified for a job, there is no clear path of how to get there.

Third, just because a course is offered at a local college doesn’t mean that it will help you get a job.

Finally, most people, employers, or schools don’t want to do anything differently, even thought the current process doesn’t work.

Let’s resolve this Labor Day to fix this mess. Here’s what to do:

First, employers must identify the skills they need and use this in their job postings – not just entry-level.  This will make it clearer within their organization and to applicants what they must do to be successful.

Second, job seekers must use the specific experiences they’ve had in their life (school, work, volunteer, etc.) to demonstrate how they can do the skills the employer is seeking.

Third, local colleges and training programs must look at the skills the employers are seeking to ensure their courses provide students with what they need to get hired.

These three simple steps will help align the interests of the three key stakeholders in a community – employers, job seekers, and educators – and train better employees, improve education outcomes and make stronger employers.

In the words of Home Depot – Let’s Do This… and we can help.