The job market of the 21st Century is increasingly global and focused on innovation, according to speakers at the Governor’s Jobs 1st Summit.
The job market of the 21st Century is increasingly global and focused on innovation. That was one of the takeaways at the Governor’s Jobs 1st Summit in Pittsburgh Monday. Pennsylvania spent about $450 million in 2014 on workforce development. Yet, in Pittsburgh, speakers from around the state intoned the same mantra: today’s workforce is being sought out and cultivated not just statewide, but worldwide. Frank Friedman, CEO and CFO of Deloitte, LLP said a key barrier to successful workforce recruitment, especially for jobs in technical fields, is U.S. immigration law. “I think there needs to be a modernization of those immigration laws, particularly around the expansion of visas. 47-percent of those students who graduate in this field have to return, have to leave this country. But yet we know that people with those degrees create jobs,” Friedman said. At the same time, much of the day’s agenda was devoted to talking about the energy sector. About 28,000 Pennsylvanians work directly in the Marcellus Shale oil and gas industry, less than one percent of the state’s total workforce, but that number is expected to grow. Corbett said cultivating the energy sector and using the state’s resources would bring benefits beyond direct jobs, as well. “The more that we can reduce the cost of energy, the more that we become attractive to people staying here, people developing jobs here, developing new industries here, developing new technologies here, but also coming to Pennsylvania,” Corbett said. Corbett and other speakers also emphasized the need to realign education at all levels to better prepare students for today’s rapidly changing job market. The main points? Educational institutions need to communicate with industry to figure out what employers are looking for, that the quantity of trained workers is just as important as quality, and technical workers are as necessary as degreed engineers. The Governor’s Jobs First Summit continues Tuesday in Pittsburgh.