Heartland Forward urges action among business, education and policy leaders to attract needed workers
BENTONVILLE, Ark., July 13, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — Today, Heartland Forward released its latest research report co-authored by Heartland Forward Senior Fellow, Joel Kotkin, entitled: “The Labor Crisis and the Future of the Heartland.” The report explores how decades of a reduction in domestic manufacturing, demographic shifts and labor force participation preceded – and exacerbated – the “Great Resignation” experienced throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. It also looks at ways business, education and policy leaders can align around historic opportunities to reshape the workforce in the wake of enormous change.
In particular, the heartland, by focusing on skills and keeping costs low, has an enormous opportunity to reclaim its legacy as a place for upward mobility. Indeed, with investments in jobs, training pipelines and diverse communities, the heartland is well-positioned to lead a resurgence in the U.S. labor market.
The report identifies opportunities for communities in the heartland and beyond, including:
- Investments in training: After pandemic shortages of durable goods like medical equipment and computer chips produced in China laid bare the pitfalls of the global supply chain, American manufacturing is on an upswing. Training programs are critical to readying communities for investments from semiconductor, automobile and electrical vehicle component manufacturers looking to build factories.
- Build pipelines for current and future students: Middle-skill jobs – those that require more than a high school diploma but less than a bachelor’s degree – are among the most in-demand. As students see less value in four-year colleges, manufacturing opportunities can offer a middle path for many.
- Tap into the region’s growing foreign-born population: Immigrants, including recent refugees arriving from Afghanistan, have been settling in labor-short, lower-cost cities like St. Louis rather than high-cost, deindustrializing states like California. This willing labor force will need to be matched with training, childcare needs and, for some, acquisition of English.
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SOURCE Heartland Forward
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