A best in class workforce is critical for businesses to succeed in an increasingly competitive global economy. Top-notch skills are needed more than ever to meet the promise of the American Dream that with hard work each generation will do better than the past.

Our K-12 schools are no longer head of the class and too many students are being left behind. The graduation rates for community colleges are appallingly low. The costs for our state institutions of higher education are out of control, making them unaffordable and out of reach for far too many. Too often, students leave with too much debt and too few skills that are relevant in the workplace.

Meanwhile, employers are increasingly concerned about the lack of qualified candidates for employment. They are unable to get the workforce they need with skills ranging from precision welding for manufacturing to biochemistry for biomedical research. The resulting combination of unfilled jobs for Connecticut employers and high unemployment for Connecticut youth highlights the failure of Connecticut’s current workforce development system.

David Stemerman, a businessman who has invested in all kinds of businesses all over the world, sees the failures of our workforce development as a major threat both to our people and our employers. David also sees tremendous potential to rebuild Connecticut’s former strength following the following principles:

I. Clear pathways to employment

II. Strong collaboration between business and educators

III. Pay for performance