New Fels Report Explores Innovative Ways for the Public Sector to Address the “Skills Gap”

As President Obama calls for new job creation that won’t raise the national budget deficit, an opportunity exists for the private and public sectors to work together. The University of Pennsylvania’s Fels Institute of Government lays out six proven strategies to help governments, businesses and workers successfully address the jobs problem in a new report, “Solving the Skills Crisis: Promising Practices for Talent Pipeline Development.”

Funded with support from the Annie E. Casey Foundation, the report highlights six strategies to build a talent development pipeline. Those strategies are:

  • Onboarding
  • Learn and Earn
  • Mentorship
  • Public / Private Intermediaries
  • Work / Life Support
  • Career Coaches

Based on site visits with more than a dozen American employers and interviews with more than 60 economic, governmental and business leaders, the new report features real-life narratives and concrete advice about replicable and scalable strategies to create and retain a quality workforce while reducing turnover, increasing productivity, and creating new job openings.

Among the many companies highlighted in the report, Lowe’s is noted for its commitment to onboarding, special hiring strategies for disabled workers, and internal advancement opportunities. “There are a lot of folks ready and willing to come to work. It’s about not limiting ourselves.” Lowe’s Senior Vice President of Distribution Stephen Szilagyi said during an interview for the report. “It costs a lot for a company to hire someone. You might get longer training curves, but you will end up with someone dependable.”

In addition to the site visits and interviews, the report features a scalability index that business can use as a checklist to decide which strategies can be successfully implemented. Numerous case studies for each strategy illustrate the real-world value for decision makers of adopting the tactics in the public and private sector.

Sam Williford, one of the Fels report authors, said, “At a time when so many people are struggling, it’s exciting to see companies engaging in practices that are good for business, workers, and the public sector.”

“Solving the Skills Crisis: Promising Practices for Talent Pipeline Development” is the latest publication in Fels’ ongoing Promising Practices series, a compilation of briefs that provide public sector leaders and managers with effective, practical, and innovative information on a broad range of public management topics. The full report is available here.

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