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CCH® HR MANAGEMENT 10/19/06

Future workforce is ill-prepared to fill shoes of retiring Boomers, survey finds

As the Baby Boom generation slowly exits the U.S. workplace, a new survey of leaders from a consortium of business research organizations finds the incoming generation sorely lacking in much needed workplace skills--both basic academic and more advanced "applied" skills, according to a report released October 2. The report is based on an detailed survey of 431 HR officials that was conducted in April and May 2006 by The Conference Board, Corporate Voices for Working Families, the Partnership for 21st Century Skills, and the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM). Its objective was to examine employers' views on the readiness of new entrants to the U.S. workforce including recently hired graduates from high schools, two-year colleges or technical schools, and four-year colleges.

"The future workforce is here, and it is ill-prepared," concludes the report. The findings reflect employers' growing frustrations over the preparedness of new entrants to the workforce. Employers expect young people to arrive with a core set of basic knowledge and the ability to apply their skills in the workplace and the reality is not matching the expectation. "It is clear from the report that greater communication and collaboration between the business sector and educators is critical to ensure that young people are prepared to enter the workplace of the 21st century," says Richard Cavanagh, president and CEO of The Conference Board. "Less than intense preparation in critical skills can lead to unsuccessful futures for America's youth, as well as a less competitive U.S. workforce. This ultimately makes the U.S. economy more vulnerable in the global marketplace."

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