Where have all the graduates gone?

The Washington Post recently reported that a growing number of colleges nationwide are scrambling to fill classes. This trend is driven by a declining number of high school graduates and rising concern about the price of education. While the elite universities continue to prosper, despite their nosebleed level costs, most all other institutions are feeling the pain. The number of new high school grads peaked in 2011 after 17 years of growth. That number will not reach a new high until 2024. The impacts of this are many. From people dropping out of the workforce to unfilled positions to unskilled workers these issues are real and demand new answers.

For the employers reading this we come back to the need to create a great place to work. The research on the payoff for that effort is consistent and compelling. The money invested in these sustained efforts goes to the bottom-line. Yet I regularly encounter people who don’t get it. The annual training event simply isn’t enough nor is the generic and low cost of living increase. People want real solutions. They want to be developed and they want to be recognized along the way. When is the last time you did a real pat on the back? When is the last time you offered compelling training that people look forward to? I get frustrated because the excuses are many. I get it. Times are tough but that is not an excuse. Heck, that is a reason to invest. That is why the new virtual training system from FireStarter, FireStarterVT.com, is gaining fans. It provides users an educational experience that is not painful. It gives managers a tool to track, measure and monitor employee participation and engagement. The on demand interactive platform is bringing education to people who are traditionally overlooked. The platform is cost effective and user friendly. It is not the solution but it is part of the solution for developing your workforce.

In an environment where people are not going to college but looking for a career and for development the employer who provides education and opportunity is the one who will win the war for talent. The labor shortages of the past decade will look like a minor inconvenience in the coming years as boomers retire but there are not enough qualified people to step in. The problem is not going away. What new solutions are you applying?

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"...thanks for speaking to our group. I got a tremendous and favorable response to what you shared. Your enthusiasm, related to our business, resonated extremely well with all levels of management in the room. "

Eric DeFrancisco
Director of Operations
RTM Arbys.