"Twenty-seven percent of our current working-age population is low-skilled and likely low-literate," said Susan Sellers, who authored the study for the Greater New Orleans Community Data Center.
Sellers says what that means is at best, all that 27 percent has a high school diploma, and even that might not be adequate for the kinds of jobs local leaders want to grow.
Sellers says improvements in K-12 are essential, but will also take decades to make an impact on that gap. She says it will take a well-coordinated effort to train the people who need the skills.
"It's a massive community-wide coordination effort so that we're spending the training resources we have to make sure that adults are filling the jobs," Sellers explained.
Listen to Susan Sellers:
On the bright side, Sellers said the effort at "community-wide coordination" is being made.
"The Louisiana Workforce Commission and lots of others monitor, on a regular basis, and make suggestions on a regular basis, how many jobs are going to be open in which occupation," Sellers told WWL First News. "Then that information is shared with our adult basic education providers so that they can all make sure that what they are training individuals to do is where those job openings are going to be."
Greater New Orleans, Inc. recently pointed to an article in Forbes magazine that praised the region's efforts to provide work skills training, as it tries to attract businesses that provide high paying jobs to skilled workers.
Click here to read the GNOCDC's study online (.pdf viewer required).
Click here to read the Forbes article.