Julien's Journal January 2017 (Volume 42, Number 1) - Page 26



2016 Workforce Skills Gap

Release :

A Call to


by Kristin Dietzel

Workforce shortages , baby boomer retirements , skills gaps , millennial job-hopping , brain drain , employee disengagement . These threats , both real and overstated , have been sounding alarms nation-wide for several years creating a looming ( and leering ) workforce bogeyman . On the other end of the spectrum , perhaps growing bored of the workforce shortage rhetoric , some economists and politicians have also began a post-skills gap drumbeat , claiming that tackling the skills gap to solve job shortages is insufficient at best and completely dead at worst . This is also an oversimplification as we look in our own community to the skills gaps that have been successfully filled or at least enjoy a much healthier pipeline today than five years ago – these include middle-skill occupations like welding , CNC machinists , industrial sewers , and construction equipment operators to name a few that once topped skills gap analyses in our region . In fact , construction equipment operators , which ranked # 1 in the Greater Dubuque 2015 Skills Gap report , dropped to number 23 in this year ’ s report , following the implementation of targeted training at Northeast Iowa Community College through the Opportunity Dubuque model . As with most complex challenges , I believe there is a third way when it comes to addressing

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