The United State’s workforce was the focus of one Woodbridge event on Thursday morning.
Smart Beginnings Greater Prince William and Dominion Energy hosted “Smart Beginnings for Tomorrow’s Workforce” at the Old Hickory Golf Course in Woodbridge.
According to Zuzana Steen, Micron Technology’s academic and community relations manager and chairman of the Prince William Chamber of Commerce’s education and innovation committee, education plays a large role in workforce development.
“Economic development is not going to be robust if we don’t have robust education and robust workforce development,” Steen said.
Lucy Davidson, manager of programs for the U.S Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s Center for Education and Workforce (CEW), explained that there is a “mismatch” between the skills of prospective employees and the available positions.
The “skills gap” can impact on a business’s growth.
Students are also not gaining needed skills through the academic system.
“We know that too many … students are finishing school without the skills that they need to succeed in life, in college and, ultimately, in the workforce,” Davidson said.
Davidson added that gaps and disadvantages are seen before students start school and emphasized the importance of high quality child care.
“We increasingly hear that people want employees, they want young students, they want graduates to have executive function skills — to be able to problem solve, to think critically, to work with others, to have these social and emotional skills … And while, thankfully, these aren’t finalized at age two, children do start laying the foundation for these skills at a really early age,” Davidson said.
Business leaders and community members can help by becoming engaged, forming partnerships with organizations, and providing financial support.
Those interested in donating to Smart Beginnings Greater Prince William can do so on the organization’s website.
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