Community Leaders Discuss Society’s Work Skills Gap

Peyton Holland, Executive Director of SkillsUSA North Carolina, was the invited guest speaker at the May Sanford Area Growth Alliance – Chamber of Commerce Public Policy Lunch. Mr. Holland is a recognized expert on trends in education, industry, workforce and business, with a specific emphasis widespread job openings that are occurring in trades professions.

Mr. Holland noted that there are currently over 7 million job openings in the country that can’t be filled due to the current skills gap. There is a disconnect between degrees obtained and skills that are needed. Holland shared that SkillsUSA is a student led organization that has an impact on the lives of students through the development of personal, workplace and technical skills that are grounded in academics.

While society needs it’s full compliment of doctors, teachers and PhD’s, there is also a need for welders, HVAC technicians, metal fabricators and more. When one considers that welders in just 2 years can earn a certification and gain a job in the $60,000 – $80,000/year range, while roughly half of graduates from four-year schools will find it difficult to find jobs in their chosen fields, it is clear that an emphasis on career and technical education is called for, as the next generation of workers make decisions about their future professions.