Closing the Skills Gap Critical for American Competitiveness, DuPont Chair & CEO Reports

DuPont News, January 18, 2012


DuPont Chair & CEO Ellen Kullman told U.S. President Barack Obama and fellow members of the President’s Jobs and Competitiveness Council yesterday that a concerted national effort to close the widening gap between the skills needed in the U.S. workplace and the skills being produced by its education and worker training systems is critical to continued U.S. competitiveness. Ellen and Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg co-authored the education section of the final Jobs Council report.

“As the skills required in the 21st century workplace grow ever more technical and complex, our education and worker training systems are not keeping pace,” Ellen said. “In fact, in many areas, we seem to be losing ground.  Companies are struggling to fill available jobs with skilled workers even while Americans are unemployed.  We can and must ensure we provide our citizens the education and skills to compete in the global economy and ensure U.S. companies have a skilled workforce.”

Ellen described the report as “a roadmap for excellence” with recommendations from preschool through the college and university level. She said the private sector, government at all levels and the public must work together to address this critical issue.

“We believe in a strong America fueled by skilled American workers and companies who compete and win in the global economy,” Ellen said.

The recommendations are summarized in four broad themes:

  1. Identify the skills employers need and ensure that educational programs and worker training programs help students and workers acquire those skills.
  2. Broadly improve educational outcomes across America, which requires, among other things, an overarching commitment to effective teaching.
  3. Focus on data and standards, which are critical to accomplishing these goals.
  4. Improve science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education throughout our academic institutions as these skills are critical in an increasingly technical world.

“The skills gap is hurting our competiveness as a country and we need to do more to close it,” said Sandberg. “The private sector needs to work with government to identify the skills that businesses need to be competitive, tailor curricula and training programs to deliver these skills and publish data that helps to match skills demand with skills supply.”

View a full copy of the report recommendations.

View a fact sheet entitled:  Prepare the American Workforce to Compete in the Global Economy.

View the news release.