By some estimates, the USA currently has up to 3 million unfilled jobs!
While the reasons for this figure, in the midst of more than 9% unemployment, should be the subject of another debate (that of how education in its current format is failing today’s advanced societies), a simple explanation for this is that the American economy is so technologically advanced it’s actually leaving people behind.
These 3 million unfilled jobs are jobs within the booming technology sector, including website, software, and robotic engineers and website masters. The problem is that, while before the recession recent graduates were entering the workforce on an annual basis having been trained for these jobs thanks to various internship and work experience opportunities, there are now millions of adults in their 30s, 40s, 50s, and 60s, who have never written any software or HTML coding who joined the ranks of the unemployed. While, they come from what used to be the backbone of the American economy, our factories, it’s clear that our economy is shifting to high tech industries, which are subsequently playing a much larger role in the overall output and production of our economy.
In short we have millions of unemployed, officially 9.2% of the workforce but much higher in reality, who are not trained to take on the jobs of the future.
What does this mean for them?
One of the greatest vehicles for social mobility has been the American Dream. But this dream implies that there are jobs out there for those willing to work hard enough to make something of themselves and as a consequence climb the social and economic ladder, which countless people have done throughout American history.
What of the millions of unemployed today though? It is very unlikely that the vast majority will be able to receive the adequate training to fill one of these vacancies in the technology sector. Will they become a lost generation, forever dependent on government support or unable to find long-term employment?
If these people remain among the unemployed for too long their skills will become outdated and it will be almost impossible for them to find a suitable job. As a consequence, their chance at the American Dream will be lost and the number of Americans in poverty and living on food stamps will undoubtedly remain above the 40 million mark it reached in 2010.
It’s up to our government and our society to ensure that this Dream lives on for future generations so that they too have their chance to work hard and climb the social and economic ladder. To accomplish this, we must put today’s unemployed back to work. What we need is a 21st Century version of the Works Progress Administration (WPA), to put the millions of unemployed back to work and give them a shot to hone certain skills as they prepare themselves to get back into the workforce as soon as the economy kicks in. Without it, we risk their chances for the future and the long-term viability of an American Dream.