Economic Mobility: Our OS is Ready for an Update

By Emma Fisher
Tuesday, April 14th, 2015

In order for the United States to enable widespread economic opportunity and mobility, it needs to create a transparent and cohesive jobs marketplace.

Successful marketplaces are built on shared operating systems. Consider your computer’s operating system and how it enables new applications and entirely new industries to be built, grown, and globally disseminated from a mobile device.

Unfortunately, the U.S. jobs marketplace does not yet benefit from a cohesive operating system. Instead, employers, educators, and individuals use different languages, measurements, and value systems when it comes to investing in America’s workforce. Employers define skills differently across and among industries, sectors, and geography. Educators train students based on their own frame of reference, many times without the direct involvement of future employers. Finally, individuals are expected to maneuver the spaces in between employers and educators without clear direction on how to identify the skills they have, articulate them, and invest in the ones they need to advance their career. Due to this misalignment, the country reduces economic mobility and productivity of millions of individuals who fall through the cracks.

If the goal is to increase economic opportunity and mobility for all Americans in the complex globalized world, then it is critical the key stakeholders collectively invest in a shared operating system and a marketplace that consistently recognizes, develops, and elevates talent. In the 21st century economy, it is not incomprehensible to envision a jobs operating system, which leverages technology as the connective tissue facilitating alignment between employers, educators, and individuals.

Technologists have begun experimenting with solutions, but, regrettably, these solutions are oftentimes developed in silos. Technology has revolutionized the way the world interacts and continues to be an effective tool to drive productivity, connect people, incentivize collaboration, and accelerate and scale promising practices. It will play a pivotal role in improving understanding among stakeholders and building a shared operating system aligned under a common agenda, with measurements and tools to facilitate continuous communication and an increase in economic opportunities for anyone willing to take advantage of them.

The time is right for stakeholders to unite around a blueprint for change and take action that will increase economic opportunity and mobility and spur economic growth. Can you imagine what your future would look like with a more transparent and cohesive marketplace?

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1 Comment

  • Robert Columbia says:

    I’m ready for Competency-Based Education and Skills-Based Hiring. I’m heavy on skills but low on degrees, and having trouble getting hired.

    Can HSG help me connect with exams to prove my skills? I’m the person who is self-studying all year round, ready and eager to find out what sort of careers I might already be ready for, and which careers are only a book or two away. No more student loans, no more humiliation. Let me prove what I can do!

    I already did the WorkKeys-based Career Readiness Certificate. I earned a gold, but it has earned me no gold. Employers seem to ignore it :(.

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