By J. Thompson
Online Career Tips Staff
Buckle your seatbelts, it’s going to be a bumpy and contentious campaign season and the hot-button topics are focused squarely on the economy and jobs creation. Much like front-running Republican presidential nomination candidates, Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich, President Barack Obama is placing jobs creation as priority one and he addressed it during the 2012 State of the Union. “Think about the America within our reach: A country that leads the world in educating its people,” said Obama, “An America that attracts a new generation of high-tech manufacturing and high-paying jobs.”
No matter which way you lean on the political spectrum, the economy is central to the discourse being argued around office water coolers, in coffee shops, and on Facebook pages alike. No political topic taps into the social conscious in America more than the economy, because it influences individual prosperity and in turn, it impacts the decisions Americans make at home every day. As James Carville said in the 1992 presidential race, “It’s the economy, stupid.”
As politicians strategize and battle over the best path to national prosperity, that debate almost always includes better education and technology—two essential ingredients that will no doubt catalyze a robust economy. The question remains, if “high-tech” and “high-paying” jobs do return in folds, will we be prepared? Will you be prepared?
Something happened during the last economic downturn that will forever change the concept of the skilled worker. Indulge this simple metaphor—no longer will workers be expected to put a round peg in a round hole, they must own the entire pegboard (while raising families, learning new software, developing leadership skills, obtaining licensures and certifications). We could cite Bureau of Labor Statistics and independent workforce studies, but they tell us what we already know. In order to be competitive, you can’t be a skilled worker; you need to be a multi-skilled worker.
Jobs and responsibilities have consolidated as companies streamline their workforce. The face of the modern employee is one that is highly educated, able to master multiple proficiencies, and manage more responsibility. As the election year accelerates, how do we prepare to meet the demands of a reinvigorated economy? Let’s start by turning that old political adage on its ear and consider a new slogan:
“It’s the education, smarty!”