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Closing the U.S. Skills Gap

John Riddle
John Riddle

The Consumer Technology Association (CTA) and IBM recently announced the launch of the CTA Apprenticeship Coalition, a major initiative that will create thousands of new apprenticeships in some 20 U.S. states. The move is an effort to help close the skills gap that companies face when trying to find qualified employees. Because the CTA is one of the largest trade associations in the country, representing the $398 billion U.S. consumer technology industry, it wants to help companies fill an estimated half a million high-tech jobs that are currently open.

Industry leaders, including Jeb Ory, CEO and co-founder of Phone2Action, are voicing their opinions. "This coalition is a great idea," Ory said. "Technology is changing how people work on a daily basis. The skills needed to be competitive in the workplace today, and especially tomorrow, are different than they were last decade, last year and even last month. CTA and IBM, by joining together to highlight this initiative, are shining a light on how companies should be preparing themselves and the broader workforce for tomorrow."

Ory believes that every company should consider being a part of the coalition. "The fact that it's 2019 and a coalition like this makes news is the clearest indication that everyone has a tremendous amount of work to do to make great careers in technology accessible to anyone that has the right level of interest and drive," he added.

Mark C. Perna, CEO of educational consulting firm Tools for Schools and author of Answering Why: Unleashing Passion, Purpose, and Performance in Younger Generations, believes the new CTA program will do very well. "It is an exciting step forward for both skilled workers and the companies that are seeking to attract, develop and retain them. Technology is the fastest-growing field in today's economy, but there is a severe shortage of workers who possess the skills to fill these positions. By creating a structured apprenticeship program to develop these workers, CTA and its member companies are taking a proactive approach to solving the skills gap in the technology industry."

Michelle Armer, chief people officer at CareerBuilder, agrees that it is a win for everyone. "This initiative to create these apprenticeships is definitely a good thing. Other employers should follow IBM's example by being receptive to investing in and providing competency-based training for workers, as well as being open to hiring workers who have not necessarily followed a traditional career path. As today's market becomes increasingly tech-focused, many applicants do not have the background experience needed to meet the needs of today's changing job roles, leaving employers with openings that are taking longer to fill than ever before. At CareerBuilder, we've found that 45 percent of human resource managers currently have jobs they cannot fulfill because they are unable to find qualified talent."

Image Credit: Ginni Rometty, IBM president and CEO, announces IBM's and the Consumer Technology Association's CTA Apprenticeship Coalition and introduces five apprentices at the 2019 CES in Las Vegas. / Credit: Consumer Technology Association
John Riddle
John Riddle
Business News Daily Contributing Writer
John Riddle is the author of 34 books, including six business titles, and has worked as a ghostwriter on numerous projects. His byline has appeared in major publications all across the U.S., and he has written articles for over 200 websites. Since 1996, he has been working out of his home office in Delaware as a full-time freelance writer, author and ghostwriter.