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Audience: Upper management as well as small business owners; anyone responsible for workforce training and all people concerned with the future of American education.
Posted August 10, 2002
America-and the world-face a serious, probably debilitating shortage of skilled workers. Oh, there are plenty of people out there, most of whom want to work. However, if they don't have the skills that are in demand by employers, their work opportunities and career futures are limited. Employers will compete to attract and hold the people with the skills to get the job done. Savvy workers will compete to acquire and market skills that will be in demand and that will make them unique and marketable in the world of work. Many will do well. Other employers and workers will not fare so well, changing the face of employment. This book addresses a wide range of topics, organized into three sections: Measuring Human Capital Development, Reports from the Firing Line: Improving Productivity and Performance, and Developing People. The content is not directed just toward educators or professionals in the field of training and development. It is more broad-based. As explained by the author in his introduction, 'For the business person, 'Skill Wars' is a policy book about managing and measuring workplace performance and profit. For the union leader and employee, 'Skill Wars' is about employability and personal growth. For parents, 'Skill Wars' is about their children's future careers and guaranteed participation in 'the American Dream.' For politicians and government leaders, 'Skill Wars' is a blueprint for what new voters are beginning to demand in every state across America: new laws to create a more knowledgeable workforce. For educators and trainers, 'Skill Wars' offers new ideas on how to better collaborate with all these groups and create innovative, diverse curricula, whether in a schoolroom or the corporate classroom.' Ninety figures illustrate the book, accompanying the text to illuminate the concepts delivered on page after page by Edward Gordon, PhD, a consultant specializing in human/intellectual capital for over two decades. His teaching experience at DePaul, Loyola, and Northwestern Universities complement his work as a consultant, writer, and speaker. Gordon certainly has the credibility and background to write this important book. You will bob your head up and down in agreement as you read this book. You'll also shake your head in disbelief and amazement as you realize how far behind we are-how much remains to be done. Gordon cites the numbers, concentrating on the ROI: the Return on Investment in building skills and capacity. The research has been done on this book, as evidenced by the number of footnotes offering bibliographical references. The pages are packed with information. The final chapter, Investing in Human Capital: A Blueprint for the 21st Century, is particularly powerful . . . and should be carefully considered by everyone in a position to help build the skill base that will be needed. And that's all of us. Gordon warns that 'The gap between the so-called 'knowledge workers' and low skilled workers is widening at an alarming rate.' Why is the gap growing? 'Because too many businesses are engaged in an act of financial levitation, trying to make bigger and bigger stacks of money from companies that are barely growing. Their magic act centers on cost-cutting, squeezing staffs, slashing training, eliminating everything except their 'core business operations.' The predominant American management philosophy of the 1990s has been that business exists only to drive up stock prices and enrich shareholders.' As we've seen in recent months, this strategy has been damaging, to say the least. More sensitive employers are creating life-work balanced environments, demonstrating stewardship for the world around us, and taking other steps to correct and improve our corporate society. 'Skill Wars' should stimulate more serious efforts to build workforce competencies or all the other efforts will be smoke-and-mirrors and façade. More people need to read this book. Now.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.