Top Problem for Cities During the Recovery: The Skills Gap

This past summer, the National League of Cities surveyed elected officials from around the country to find out how their cities have been doing during the recovery. Turns out that while many cities are improving, some are still struggling. And the top issue hurting cities during the recovery? Not enough qualified workers to support new and growing businesses.

Here’s what they found:

Business growth is a key factor in economic health

  • New businesses (47 percent) and business expansions (43 percent) are the most widespread positive drivers of local economic health over the past year
  • The number of new businesses increased in 84 percent of cities, and 77 percent of cities experienced a rise in the number of business expansions

But businesses are having trouble finding workers with the right skills

  • 40 percent of city leaders report the most widespread concern facing local economies is the misalignment between available workforce skills and the skills employers’ need
  • In fact, 17 percent of cities reported an increase in the skills gap over the past year
  • However, residents with college degrees and other workforce training increased in 36 percent of cities, and business satisfaction (in local business surveys) increased in 56 percent of cities

Cities around the country are creating and implementing new approaches to develop workers so they have the skills local businesses need. The GED® test is the only high school equivalency test that measures the skills adult learners need to succeed in these workforce development programs, and by extension drive the growth of local economies.

Read the full National League of Cities Report here.

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