McGraw-Hill Research Foundation Policy Paper Advocates for Global Collaboration Between Education and Business To Improve Workforce Training

Jan 31, 2013, 12:07 ET from McGraw-Hill Research Foundation

NEW YORK, Jan. 31, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- The Asia-Pacific region represents one of the most dynamic growth areas of the world, with more than 50% of the world's economic output.  However, companies there face grave problems attracting, retaining, and developing talent.  A McGraw-Hill Research Foundation white paper, "The Asia-Pacific Roundtable on Workforce Education: New Approaches Needed to Close Growing Skills Gap," summarizes a discussion among education and business leaders who participated in a Roundtable at the East-West Center in Honolulu; participants focused on the implications of the growing workforce training and skills gap that is making it difficult for businesses in the Asia-Pacific region and elsewhere to find trained and competent employees.

This skills and training gap is an international problem, one that threatens to undermine global economic growth into the near future and beyond.  Karen Knudsen, director, Office of External Affairs East-West Center; Marilyn Matsunaga, executive director, O'ahu Workforce Investment Board; Ron Painter, chief executive officer of the National Association of Workforce Boards (NAWB) and Mitch Rosin, director, Adult Learning and Workforce Initiatives at McGraw-Hill Education, took part in the Roundtable and are authors of the white paper. They report that Roundtable participants believe educational institutions and employers must collaborate to develop more effective career pathways, as the current systems of providing workplace training and skills development are not meeting the ever-changing demands of a 21st century global labor market.

Today – even in the midst of a sluggish economic recovery and with higher than normal levels of unemployment – employers in the U.S. and around the world are finding it difficult to fill essential positions from entry-level on up to and including jobs requiring specialized skills and training.  Even basic skills in areas such as communication, simple arithmetic, customer service and good work habits are lacking among many candidates, in addition to the higher technical skills now demanded for jobs once considered non-technical.

The Roundtable discussed countries that are putting substantial resources into upgrading their systems of education – including new programs and initiatives to improve workforce education and training that other countries, including the U.S., would do well to emulate.  For example, a number of countries have more fully developed and utilized apprenticeship systems, such as many European Union members, Canada, Australia, and the Philippines. 

The Roundtable participants made several recommendations in offering remedies for the global skills gap, including:

  • Educational institutions must provide independently validated certifications and credentials for students that business can trust;
  • There should be high-level cooperation among city political, education and business leaders at the local level, with everyone playing their proper role, to provide solutions driven by local business needs;
  • Listen to and involve the local business community;
  • Don't underestimate the power of the individual; and
  • Start small.

"A system will be devised to provide more skilled and trained workers, because that has to happen for business to succeed and remain vibrant in the 21st century," the authors conclude.

To download a copy of "The Asia-Pacific Roundtable on Workforce Education click here.

The Roundtable was sponsored by the East-West Center, the O'ahu Workforce Investment Board, the National Association of Workforce Boards, and The McGraw-Hill Research Foundation.  Following is a list of Roundtable participants:


Karen Knudsen, Moderator, Director of External Affairs, East-West Center
Marilyn Matsunaga Executive Director, O'ahu Workforce Investment Board. 
Ron Painter, CEO, National Association of Workforce Investment Boards
Mitch Rosin, Director, Adult Learning and Workforce Initiatives, McGraw-Hill Education

Brian Keala Benz, President and CEO, Team Clean, Inc., Hawaii
Jan Bray, Executive Director, Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE)
Derek Chinen, Planner, O'ahu Workforce Investment Board
Oksana Exell, Executive Director, Asia Pacific Gateway Skills Table, Canada
Bernadette Howard, Hawaii State Director of Career and Technical Education
Kalei Inn, Kalei Inn and Associates, Hawaii
Reg Javier, Workforce Specialist, Public Consulting Group (PCG)
Brent Kakesako, COO, Hawaii Alliance for Community-Based Economic Development
Peter Krikstolaitis, Director, Navitas Career Solutions, Australia
Dexter Ligot-Gordon, Co-Founder and COO, Kalibrr, Manila, Philippines. 
Richard Kaipo Lum, CEO, Vision Foresight Strategy; Hawaii, Europe, Asia
Manley McLachlan, President British Columbia Construction Association, Canada 
Sally Sinclair, CEO, National Employment Services Association, Australia
Jim Tollefson, CEO & President, Hawaii Chamber of Commerce

About The McGraw-Hill Research Foundation

The Foundation was established with the support of The McGraw-Hill Companies and is a Section 501(c)(3) organization. Additional information is available at

SOURCE McGraw-Hill Research Foundation