HR Pundits across the nation have pronounced themselves heartened by the fact that the President’s State of the Union speech not only covered the country’s economy but also touched on all the burning issues of HR management today, like the creation of jobs, providing training to build skills required by businesses, improving infrastructure, reforming immigration and guaranteeing a secure retirement for seniors. But, does that mean we start celebrating?
Talent Crunch and Immigration Reform:
We’ll have to wait and see, because all these issues are complex in nature and require a concerted effort on various fronts.
The way ahead to address the skills gap has to be two pronged, because the need for talent is immediate while reforming the education system and beefing up the training infrastructure are time-consuming affairs. Immigration reform may be the only short-term answer. While some are happy that the immigration reform gets them to gain access some of the best minds from across the world, the issue has been muddied by the focus on undocumented, unskilled immigrants and illegal practices used to bring these individuals across our borders.
Attracting external talent presents the ideal solution when combined with internal educational reform and efforts to create the required talent at home. Technology and medicine lead the pack in immediately requiring the right candidates. Manufacturing and other industries are not lagging far behind. Immigration offers the tried and tested solution that America has always embraced – that of attracting the best talent from all over the world, using the attraction it holds as the ‘land of dreams’ offering professional growth and high income.
If the naysayers are right about the talent being available right here on American soil, then clearly employers would undoubtedly choose them as their first option before incurring the cost and effort of helping anyone else relocate, with family, to America.
Job Creation & Training Infrastructure:
The plan to devote resources to infrastructure development will create jobs in the short term, and help with retaining a competitive edge and efficiency in the long term. With the return of manufacturing work on-shore, the need to have an efficient road, bridge, rail and freight infrastructure has increased to meet create the required distribution networks. Cash-rich companies may find it worth their while to partner with the government in beefing up the country’s aging infrastructure.
The proposal to bring together businesses, universities and the government could help sustain the needs of the manufacturing industry; even taking it to the next level, if sufficient emphasis is placed on ‘real-world learning’ or STEM education, a topic we have discussed in earlier blogs.
Bang for the Educational Buck:
The President has committed to improving and broadening early childhood education to standards which stay competitive worldwide while closing the achievement gap between children who are better off against those who are not. With a collaborative effort between the Executive branch and Congress, we can sound the death knell to talent wars and skills gap issues.
While we are all hopeful that our country can make progress in these areas, we know that we have heard these promises before. Collective and informed effort is the real need of the hour, and we can all start celebrating once we really see government, businesses and communities come together and start tackling these issues.
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