Current educational and professional training programs cannot meet the worker shortage needs of a mobile and diverse workforce. This is a critical issue on multiple levels – from governmental policy and how it impacts funding allocation, to the private sector where there is a shortage of professionally trained workers. It has adversely affected everything, from agriculture to technology.
Worker Shortages Due to Covid
In the United States, there have been reports of worker shortages in various industries in recent years. This has been the result of several factors, including the COVID-19 pandemic, changes in government policies, and demographic shifts.
During the pandemic, many workers were laid off or furloughed due to business closures and decreased demand for services, particularly in industries such as hospitality, travel, and retail. As businesses have reopened and demand has increased, employers have struggled to attract and retain workers, which has led to staffing shortages.
Current worker shortages have created a difficult environment for businesses and industries. This includes reduced productivity, higher labor costs, and difficulties in meeting the customer demand.
Employers Seeking to Hire Well-trained Staff Face Challenges
Some of these challenges include:
- Cost: Training can be expensive, and some employers may not have the resources to invest in training programs. This is particularly true for small businesses that may have a limited budget.
- Lack of Time: Employers may find it difficult to allocate time for training when there are pressing deadlines and other urgent tasks to attend to.
- Lack of Skilled Trainers: Not all employers have access to trainers who have the expertise and experience to effectively train workers. In some cases, employers may have to rely on their own staff to provide training, which can be challenging if those staff members are already overburdened with other responsibilities.
How the Worker Shortages Have Negatively Impacted Nursing
The Natural Course of Aging
The first issue in the nursing shortage deals with age as both the general population and the workforce are reaching their golden years. In the next decade, a fifth of the population will be senior citizens. Unfortunately, the same goes for the very RNs (registered nurses) caring for these patients. A third of the nursing workforce is composed of professionals aged 50 years and up.
Bottlenecks in Education
Despite a promising career with job security, good compensation, and fulfilling work, there just aren’t enough nurses in the field today. The main bottlenecks in nursing schools are limitations on budget, faculty, staff, and other resources. The already limited number of teachers are looking to retire in the next decade, too. Filling these positions is challenging as teachers are required to have higher educational attainment and more experience but earn less than their counterparts in the field.
Solutions to the Nursing Shortages
As a matter of fact, not much can be done about the aging population, both for nursing staff and patients. However, focusing on the new generation of nurses is perhaps the best way to grow their presence in the healthcare industry.
Worker Shortages in Construction
The Chips and Science Act was enacted in 2022 and aims to build a world-leading silicon microchip industry in the U.S. Recently, Intel broke ground on a new plant in Ohio. It is slated to cost $20 billion, including 10 labs, and employ 7,000 people when it is complete. That is the good news.
The sad news is that even in Ohio, which has long been known as part of the blue-collar heartland, there are not enough well-trained construction workers to build the plant.
Likewise, across the country, there are not enough firefighters, police officers, nurses, cooks, assembly line workers, teachers, welders, truck drivers – the list goes on.
The Solution to Worker Shortages
Finding solutions for this problem of worker shortages will be critical for future growth in the U.S. Rethinking the way we train people by employing innovative technologies is necessary. Also appealing to what they like and enjoy needs to be front and center of the effort. In fact, interactive video eLearning that includes gaming aspects such as peer-to-peer competition, badges, and rewards has been shown to enhance user engagement, understanding, and retention.
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