Bridging the Skills Gap In the State of Washington
The statistics are out there and the results are in: the state of Washington is facing a skills gap. This doesn’t only pose an economic risk for the here and now, but the future for the sate as well.
Among Major Occupational Groups requiring a mid-level education, the Projected Annual Undersupply of skilled workers is astronomical. Don’t take my word for it, see for yourself by clicking the outbound link above.
The main occupations that are experiencing an undersupply of skilled works are:
- Installation, Maintenance & Repair
- Manufacturing, Production
- Protective Services
- Health Care Occupations in Shortage*
- Science Technology
What Is a Skills Gap and How Does It Affect the State of Washington?
A Skills gap means a shortage of workers in fields that require skills obtained by means of OJT programs or apprenticeships. Having a deficit of skilled workers to get jobs done is bound to impact any state or countries economy, and Washington is no exception.
It’s all about supply vs demand, and at this time there is a huge demand for skilled workers in Washington. The current and projected supply will not meet those demands.
In fact, if Washington produces the same amount of skilled workers in 2019 as it did in 2009, the gap between supply and expected demand is a matter of immediate concern.
The issue of the skills gap in the State of Washington has drawn national attention and currently, the State of Washington is listed as having the 6th largest skills gap in America.
OJT Programs Can Help Fill the Void of Skilled Workers in the State of Washington
On-the-Job training programs that allow career seekers to earn while they learn can and will solve this issue. There is an abundance of such opportunities in the State of Washington. Despite the opportunities, it appears the Millenial and Generations Z demographic aren’t capitalizing for these programs.
The majority continue opting to seek higher education at 4-year institutes that provide ever-lessening employment opportunities.
Students take all the risk of accruing large debts via student loans and upon graduation, find they aren’t employable due to lack of job experience. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying college is a bad choice, but that’s entirely dependant upon the degree they’ve chosen to pursue.
For example, a degree in computer science is pretty much guaranteed to offer students employment opportunities, upon graduation. But even then there are less costly and more time efficient options such as coding boot camps.
I think the root cause of this comes is due to two reasons:
- Lack of awareness of OJT programs and apprenticeships
- A false perception that blue-collar work or trade schools aren’t “cool”
These false perceptions among the younger demographics of our nation must be adjusted. With Baby Boomers and Gen X continuing to retire and leave the workforce, the jobs they used to occupy are being left unfilled.
Resources for On-The-Job Training and Apprenticeships in the State of Washington
Firstly, let’s address the lack of awareness many Millenials have of OJT programs and apprenticeships in Washington State.
- Employment Security Department Washington State – This government site has a wide array of opportunities, especially ones catering to our Vets. Also, plenty of opportunities for career seekers who are non-vets.
- Workforce Board for training and education in Washington – This site provides employment seekers a direct link to contacting board members for the State of Washington workforce. You can email board members who are ready and willing to provide you with information and resources. Whether you are overcoming career transition or just starting out, this link is a valuable resource I suggest your bookmark in your browser.
- Washington Career Bridge – Here is another government site that aids career seekers with a multitude of resources. Washington Career Bridge offers quizzes to help determine what career best suits your interests and information on occupation growth industries and jobs that are trending. Once you’ve taken the quiz and determined what career path best suits your interests and has a promising future of trending growth, they supply a link to finding educational programs in that field.
- OJT.com – we are ravenously searching for all On-the-Job Training opportunities and compiling a list for career seekers to choose from. Check back with us as our list of OJT programs in Washington State will continue growing
- WorkSourcewa.com – This site provides a workforce locator for every region of Washington.
Millennials and Gen-Z Have a False Perception of Blue-Collar Work and Trade Schools
Regarding my second speculation as to why the younger demographic of our nation isn’t capitalizing on OJT programs and apprenticeships. Their false perception of Blue Collar work or trade schools being “uncool” likely stems from a multitude of reasons.
For starters, the college-lifestyle is very appealing for some. Partying, leaving their home town, meeting new people…all fun stuff. They usually forego the realization that, while they may be having fun, they are accruing an outlandish debt. It’s not until their realization of their limited employment opportunities after graduation due to a lack of work experience when reality strikes.
Also, parental influence. Their baby boomer parents were able to graduate with a degree in art history and have all kinds of opportunities not even relevant to their degree because, at that time, college degrees of any kind held more value.
Either way, in order to fill the job skills gap Washington and many states are facing, we must stamp out this false perception. OJT programs and Apprenticeships provide what I consider to be one of the best forms of developing a skill, and that’s observational learning.
Furthermore, choosing an On-the-Job Training program or apprenticeship affords you the potential of immediately earning a family-sustaining wage. A recent study by the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction shows that an apprentice will earn over 150k more in a 25 year period than a college graduate with a Bachelors Degree.
Let the numbers speak for themselves! Let’s get bridge the job skills gap in Washington State helping the state economy and the career seeker earn a livable wage right out of high school!
OJT Supports Bridging the Skills Gap In the State of Washington
Browse OJT.com to find the hottest industries and training providers near you. Let’s keep making the State of Washington the great state that it truly is, and fill the void of skilled workers employers are seeking to hire!