Here’s Obama’s $600M Solution to America’s Skill Gap

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Source: Thinkstock

Source: Thinkstock

There has been more than a little disagreement over the so-called “skill gap” and its relationship to unemployment in America today. Some, such as Jamie Dimon, CEO of JPMorgan Chase & Co., believe that the lack of “middle-skill workers” is leading to unfilled positions in today’s job market. Dimon considers it to be a serious enough issue to warrant a new program targeting the issue.

Others, like Paul Krugman, Nobel prize Winner in Economics, consider it to be a false theory. Krugman called it a “zombie idea — an idea that should have been killed by evidence, but refuses to die,” in an op ed with The New York Times. He said that studies did not back up the claim that unemployment is explained by workers’ lack of necessary skills, but that instead, the “current ratio of vacancies to unemployed workers is far below normal,” and that the “crucial point is that unemployment remains much higher among workers at all education levels than it was before the financial crisis.” Krugman said the skill gap theory could be used to blame the victim, “blaming workers for their own plight,” rather than the struggling economy, and that “the skills myth shifts attention away from the spectacle of soaring profits and bonuses” in corporations.

Controversy aside, the Obama administration is addressing concerns over skills and job needs, with President Barack Obama requesting that Vice President Joe Biden “lead an initiative to help individuals get trained with skills businesses need now and then [place them] in good, middle class jobs” — according to the recent White House press release on the matter.

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