Today, the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) released a letter report to the President about opportunities for information technology (IT) to improve the way the labor market works and to help get more people into jobs. The report – which focuses on “middle-skill” workers, people whose jobs require post-secondary training, but not a conventional college degree – describes how IT can be used to enhance interactions among workers, trainers, and employers, and to help boost the performance of the labor market as a whole.
Getting more people into jobs calls for closing the gap between the kinds of skills potential workers have and the kinds of skills needed for jobs that are currently available. IT can play a role in assessing skills of a potential employee or workforce and helping to facilitate targeted training opportunities, beginning with students and other individuals who are already investigating job and training options. IT can also be deployed to help analyze, at a large scale, what kinds of jobs are available, where they are available, and what skills are available admits the talent-pool that is actively seeking work. Building on such analyses, it can help in the matching of workers with jobs.
In its new report, PCAST recommends three steps the Federal Government can take to enhance the performance of the U.S. middle-skill labor market:
This report is the second in a series of PCAST studies that explore the potential of education information-technology (EdIT) to enhance education and training.
Jim Gates, Craig Mundie, and Barbara Schaal are members of PCAST and co-chairs of the PCAST EdIT Working Group.
PCAST is an advisory group of the Nation’s leading scientists and engineers, appointed by the President to augment the science and technology advice available to him from inside the White House and from cabinet departments and other Federal agencies. For more information about PCAST, please visit the PCAST website.