A “Help Wanted” sign is posted in the window of an automotive service shop. | Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
As inflation continues to spike, the White House and Democrats in Congress are turning their attention to one of its least-talked-about causes: lagging workforce development.
For years, the U.S. has spent far less on training its workers and done so much less effectively than most other wealthy nations, which is contributing to the supply chain woes caused by the pandemic.
With two job openings for every worker seeking employment in March, economists say one reason for the mismatch is a failure to effectively prepare workers for in-demand roles. Many of the shortfalls are in sectors particularly crucial to a healthy supply chain, including trucking, manufacturing, railroads and ports.
If policymakers can’t remedy the situation, labor and education experts warn that it could permanently hobble the U.S. economy and impede its ability to compete with other economic powers like China — particularly given how long it can take for changes to produce results.
“This is a crisis point,” said Boston University professor Scott Solberg, vice president of research for the Coalition for Career Development Center. “We have to have a national conversation about how we’re going to elevate career readiness, because it’s all about economic competitiveness.”
Labor Secretary Marty Walsh and congressional Democrats are scrambling to reinforce the supply chain’s little-known Achilles heel before inflation can spiral further. Prices ha …