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Gates Foundation Reports on Workforce Solutions

The AARP Foundation received a generous grant from The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to examine the degree to which the U.S. workforce will have the qualifications needed to fill the jobs expected to be available in the United States over the next 10 years.  To that end, we developed two reports directly focusing on preparing for a workforce without boomers, both in exploring the projected jobs in the future and the educational credentials needed to fill those job and in determining the perspective of employers.

 An Assessment of Labor Force Projections Through 2018:  Will Workers Have the Education Needed for the Available Jobs?:  The impending retirement of the baby boom cohort could pose dramatic challenges for the U.S. labor force for at least two reasons. First, the boomers – adults born between 1946 and 1964 – are large in number.  Second, boomers are relatively well educated.  In this report we develop and analyze occupational and labor force projections to the year 2018, with a particular focus on the educational requirements of jobs, the educational attainment levels of workers, and the potential for imbalances to emerge between workforce needs and supplies.  These projections are fairly short term because the analysis in this report is based, in part, on Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) occupational projections that extend only through 2018.  Our focus is on broad levels of educational attainment, rather than specific types of degrees or areas of study.


Employer Experiences and Expectations:  Finding, Training, and Keeping Qualified Workers:  The graying of the labor force, together with the recession of 2008-2010, has forced employers and prognosticators to take a hard look at workforce preparation, training, and planning.  This employer research survey is one component of a larger project that explores the workforce, labor force projections, and employer views on training, preparedness, and recruiting workers.  Survey questions were developed after qualitative research with employers.

This survey of 1,003 human resource directors was fielded from May through July 2010.  Respondents were asked about their company’s hiring practices, training, skill needs, and quality of job applicants, both before and since the recession.  We also explored their expectations for the future.