The Importance of High-Skill Labor

Without employees with the skills necessary to do innovative, often high-tech work, new and expanded businesses could never get off the ground. That is why a region that is to become a more successful cluster must not only have lots of entrepreneurs who can start companies, but the availability of eager, dedicated, and talented workers who have the energy and skills to bring innovative ideas to life. Workforce development programs are crucial to the development and maintenance of a highly skilled workforce, and a smart policy choice for regions hoping to grow new companies.

Michigan, for example, awards startup grants and provides training to fill job vacancies in high-demand fields that will bolster further economic growth to more than 20 “regional skills alliances.” Or consider Pennsylvania, which has an Industry Partnerships program that brings together employers and workers in the same industry cluster to discuss overlapping labor issues, encouraging hiring and the development of skilled workers. The Pennsylvania program has trained more than 70,000 employees since 2005, growing high-skill jobs in innovative companies.

Highly skilled labor is essential to the growth of new companies and innovation clusters— workforce programs that encourage the development of highly skilled labor represent a prescient recognition of the importance of training and retraining our labor force for a new generation of American ingenuity.

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