Sunday, February 6, 2011

Why does Fresno have thousands of job openings and high unemployment? Fresno has enough people, just not enough people with the right skills – the skills needed to fill the health and technology jobs generated by the economy.

Michael A. Fletcher described the problem succinctly as a “skills mismatch,” and to an extent it is. It is the mismatch that results from America losing valuable ground to other nations in the percentage of people with college degrees. Nearly 40 percent of the students who enter a bachelor’s-degree program each year in the United States will never graduate. This leaves us short of qualified people ready to fill key jobs in emerging sectors.

Fresno is but a painful symptom of America’s higher-education illness.

Alan Tripp, San Francisco

The writer is chief executive of InsideTrack, which works with colleges to improve graduation and retention rates.

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