The skills gap has been a topic of conversation in New Mexico for years, if not decades. Yet still we find ourselves trying to find systemic solutions to bridge the gap between the educations our students receive, and the skills demanded by local employers.
Bridging the skills gap is complex. It is about growing skills and competencies in K-12. It is about raising graduation rates. However, research is showing that now more than ever, success in the workforce has a lot to do with credentials.
According to Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workforce, 63 percent of all jobs in New Mexico will require some post-high school education by the year 2020. In addition, the demand for higher education has only increased since the Great Recession, with the vast majority of new jobs created during the recovery going to workers with a post-high school credential versus those with only a high school diploma. Our own research with local employers points to similar conclusions. Our survey through Mission: Graduate, known as Bridging the Talent Gap, showed that over the next five years, 41 percent of New Mexico employers anticipated needing employees with a Bachelor’s degree. An even higher percentage of employers – 45 percent – cited a need for employees with industry and professional association credentials.