The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation (USCCF) recently held a summit in Washington to focus on helping U.S. companies fill the gap of skilled workers.
The summit, entitled “Managing The Talent Pipeline: A New Approach to Closing the Skills Gap” focused on the issue of education and the workforce in America and how employers are struggling to find skilled workers who can contribute to the growth and success of their companies.
Ray Laughter, Lone Star College vice chancellor of external affairs, was invited to speak at the summit to share how LSC is helping to meet these demands through its various successful workforce programs and the impact of federal policy on our ability to meet these needs.
“Lone Star College is at the forefront in preparing a skilled workforce that is ready to go to work,” said Laughter. “Many of the issues raised at the summit have already identified and addressed by Lone Star College.”
LSC was also part of a national initiative called Rebuilding America’s Middle Class which is looking for ways to improve federal policy that impacts student access and success to completion and employability.
Middle skills jobs generally require some significant education and training beyond high school but less than a bachelor’s degree. Today, middle skills jobs represent 41 percent of all jobs in the Houston region.
“We have people without jobs and jobs without people,” said John McKernan Jr., USCCF president in a release following the summit.
“There are nearly five million jobs available across the country at a time when almost 10 million Americans are still out of work. Employers large and small attribute much of this to a workforce that lacks the skills necessary for the jobs of the 21st century,” McKernan said”
“Companies in our region are counting on Lone Star College to help them fill positions and thanks to the support of the voters in our recent bond election, Lone Star College will continue to lead the nation in innovation,” said Laughter.
Bond funds approved by voters Nov. 4 in the LSC bond referendum will help fund construction of new Advanced Technology Centers across the system, which will be used to help fill the shortage of trained technical workers in the Houston region.
The Greater Houston Partnership estimates there will be more than 74,000 annual job openings in middle skills occupations available in Houston between now and 2017. The Advanced Technology Centers will provide training for Computer Information Technology and Visual Communications, Industrial/Commercial Construction and HVACR, Process and Lab Technology for the oil and gas industry, Transportation and Logistics, Workforce Certification Assessment, and a Drilling Platform Training Center.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation is dedicated to strengthening America’s long-term competitiveness and educating the public on how our free enterprise system improves society and the economy. The Foundation conducts research and produces events on issues facing business now and in the future.
Lone Star College has been opening doors to a better community for more than 40 years. Founded in 1973, LSC remains steadfast in its commitment to student success and credential completion. Today, with almost 83,000 students in credit classes, and a total enrollment of more than 95,000, Lone Star College is the largest institution of higher education in the Houston area and one of the fastest-growing community colleges in the nation. Stephen C. Head, Ph.D., is the chancellor of LSC, which consists of six colleges including LSC-CyFair, LSC-Kingwood, LSC-Montgomery, LSC-North Harris, LSC-Tomball and LSC-University Park, seven centers, LSC-University Center at Montgomery, LSC-University Center at University Park, Lone Star Corporate College, and LSC-Online.