The New York Times printed a recent article (“After Training, Still Scrambling for Employment”) that raised some important issues about job training. The article, however, was based on a faulty premise – that job training is a wasted investment if it doesn’t lead to an immediate job, even during a period of severe recession and high unemployment.

The article also underscores an important fact: Successful job training requires employer involvement and this speaks to the need for more extensive and more effective partnerships among business, education and government.

Here’s from the New York Times article:

Hundreds of thousands of Americans have enrolled in federally financed training programs in recent years, only to remain out of work. That has intensified skepticism about training as a cure for unemployment.

Clearly, unemployment will remain unacceptably high until the economy improves and employers increase the pace of hiring. And this despite the fact that many employers – in manufacturing and other industries – say that jobs are available but they can’t find employees with the necessary skills.

Yet the reality is that jobs have changed and employers are looking to hire employees with enhanced skills, both basic and applied. (See Are They Really Ready To Work?) Consequently, training and other initiatives – particularly when these programs involve employers – provide the foundation necessary for both obtaining a job and for career growth and success.

An excellent model of a best-practice program: CVS Caremark Pathways to Retail Success.

Recognizing the new realities of the 21st Century workplace, Corporate Voices for Working Families believes that obtaining a postsecondary credential is critical for the workforce of the future and for America’s economic competitiveness. As part of our work with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, we are currently researching many Earn and Learn models in which businesses form partnerships with local community colleges and other education providers to help younger workers work while getting their postsecondary education.

Additional information, research and publications involving the full range of our workforce readiness work are available on the Corporate Voices website.

And additional perspective on the issues discussed in the New York Times article is contained in the following:

Barbara Kiviat, – “Does job retraining work?

Daniel Indiviglio, The Atlantic – “Job Training Helps, Just Not With Unemployment.