America’s future workforce is simply unprepared to face the demands of the business world.

According to a report titled, The Ill-Prepared U.S. Workforce: Exploring the Challenges of Employer-Provided Workforce Readiness Training, Corporate Voices found that businesses have had to provide training to entry-level workers in order to prepare them for the workforce, which places an increasingly heavy burden on the business community.

The public, however, is increasingly calling for more government involvement in job training. According to a recent survey conducted by Corporate Voices titled Struggling to Make Ends Meet: Public Polling of Low-Wage Workers, 51 percent of people believe that it is the responsibility of both the government and employers to improve the conditions of low-wage workers. This is up from 20 percent in 2004. While this statistic is specific to the low-wage workforce, it does describe people’s desire for greater government involvement in the area of workforce training.

So, what is the proper role of government in workforce readiness training, and how can the government ensure that businesses receive qualified employees? What are the experts saying?

Both the private and public sectors  are reeling from the economic crisis and both are struggling with an ill-prepared workforce. However, they both have vital roles to play in building the capacity of tomorrow’s workforce.  In an article titled “Training Incentives Stimulate Employee Growth,” Terry Hansen calls for the government to partner with businesses to train people in necessary skills to foster economic growth.

He writes:

In today’s global economy, state governments are doing more to help their workforce remain competitive…government agencies have established multiple training grant programs to stimulate worker skill development.” Hansen continues “…by directly financing training, government can help companies address challenges related to talent shortages and competitiveness.

One example of how a state government is training its workforce for the private sector is Arkansas. The Incumbent Worker Training Program has been created through Arkansas’ Department of Workforce Services. This program is designed to assist private business in training its current workforce. Arkansas provides funds directly to companies to be used for training. The state believes that training in portable skills results in a more highly skilled and versatile workforce that contributes to Arkansas’ ability to attract new business, and creates an environment conducive to expansion.

Partnerships are important, and a government’s willingness to invest in training helps to bring about business confidence, which results in an influx of jobs and a boost to the local economy. Hansen writes,

Training is expected to lead to the creation of new jobs, retention of jobs, increased wages for better trained workers, a higher-skilled workforce, and more profitable businesses.

Corporate Voices believes that the business community alone should not bear the burden of getting youth ready for work. Through our Workforce Readiness initiative, we are working with leading companies and organizations in regional economies to ensure an educated and skilled talent pool.

Within our “Earn and Learn” program, Corporate Voices continues to research and highlight companies that partner with community colleges and other institutions to help youth be work-ready. Through membership in the Ready by 21 National Partnership, Corporate Voices continues to provide tools and information to business, education, and community-leaders on how to better build and sustain partnerships with the ultimate goals of preparing the future workforce.

Corporate Voices will soon release, in partnership with United Way Worldwide and Workforce Strategy Center, Supporting the Education Pipeline: A Business Engagement Toolkit for Community-Based Organizations. This toolkit and its companion website are designed to provide community leaders with resources to help recruit, engage and develop on-going relationships with business leaders in their communities to ensure that all youth are ready for college, work and life. Please stay tuned for this forthcoming toolkit!

By Anthony Hurst. Anthony is an intern with Corporate Voices for Working Families