Employers need a strong pool of available labor with the skills and knowledge to sustain and grow their business, adding more jobs to the economy. No arguments there. Foundations and community organizations want to see lower-wage workers get the qualifications they need for the kind of jobs that can support a middle-class family. Again, wholeheartedly agree.
To me, the question is, are we doing the hard work to meet these learners where they are so that we can achieve that vision of a strategically trained workforce? The people who are in most need of career training are often least able to take advantage of it.
If you’re struggling to patch together childcare between relatives with an unpredictable work schedule, how will you manage adding hours a week of training or classes? If you’re working two jobs to just make it to your next paycheck, how will you afford to cut back your shifts? If your supervisor won’t adjust your schedule to accommodate your program, if you’re caring for your elderly father at night and there’s never time to study, if you’re behind on your rent and not sure where you’ll be living next month, how can you put in the time and energy needed to succeed?