The New Skills Required for the New Economy

In response to recent emphasis by President Obama on strengthening the country's manufacturing sector as a key to economic recovery, Richard Florida sees knowledge-based jobs and new skills as the foundation for a new economic blueprint.

Although Obama's blueprint for his "economy that is built to last" begins with manufacturing, Florida notes that although, "Obama's blueprint for prosperity begins with manufacturing, it can hardly end with it."

One reason Florida identifies for his skepticism are job projections by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. By 2020, blue collar jobs (including construction and transportation) are expected to increase by four million, but just 357,000 of those jobs will be in "production." Compare that with the expected seven million high-paying jobs in the knowledge, professional, and creative class sectors and the ten million new jobs in the comparatively lower-wage service sector.

According to Florida, "The growing salary divide will only worsen America's inequality. The only real solution is providing workers with the skills they need to turn their low-wage, low-skill jobs into better-paying, higher-skill ones."

For Florida, the new economy will necessitate a blueprint that teaches people new analytical and social intelligence skills in every sector, "not one that looks back romantically at a category of jobs that no longer exists in substantial numbers."

Full Story: A Blueprint for a 21st Century Workforce

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