Today, Dr. Howard Liebman, Superintendent of Schools at Smart Horizons Career Online Education, announced the publication of a new white paper detailing the direct link between increasing adult high school completion and reducing the labor shortage in the U.S. The white paper urges members of Congress, the Biden administration, the Department of Education, and the Department of Labor to prioritize access to and funding for adult, career-based high school education.
As the labor shortage wreaks havoc on the American economy and global supply chain, businesses and government agencies are focusing on upskilling existing workers to address the shortage of skilled workers. While skills training is imperative to maintain the current workforce, it only addresses part of the problem. With 11.3 million more jobs available in the United States than there are workers to fill them, maintaining the current workforce does not address the larger problem: that there are simply too few workers to meet employers’ needs.
To increase the size of the American skilled workforce, lawmakers at all levels, as well as private enterprise, need only recognize the untapped potential of the approximately 30 million U.S. adults (25 and older) who do not have a high school diploma and are therefore not eligible for entry-level positions in many sectors in need of workers. By funding free online, adult high school education—offered concurrently with career readiness and occupational skills in areas such as manufacturing, childcare, retail, or hospitality—Congress can build a pipeline of adult workers to hard-hit industries.