Amy Rosen reporting in with more from the World Economic Forum. Check in with us each day to hear more from Amy about what's happening in Davos.
I’m sitting here in one of the first major session of WEF 2011, The Future of Employment (to be broadcast on CNBC under the tite “The West Isn’t Working”) where Maria Bartiromo has framed the debate with two questions. First, whether the west can maintain its superpower status with the potential of job growth occurring only in the east. West vs. east is clearly the theme with the participants, leading journalists, government advisors and business leaders taking their predictable sides. Most have quickly come to the conclusion that it isn’t about either/or and it never has been. It’s about doing what’s necessary to create jobs worldwide and make sure the respective work forces have the skills to fill those jobs.
I can’t help thinking about howthe top 10 in-demand jobs in 2010 did not exist six years ago. That is as good as any explanation as to why even with such high unemployment companies like Siemens have 12,000 vacancies. We are not arming the workforce with the skills and knowledge needed to support economic growth because we are not educating our students to meet the demands of a 21st century economy. As Bill Gates said, "Training the workforce of tomorrow with today's high schools is like trying to teach kids about today's computers on a 50-year-old mainframe."
The discussion has quickly moved to the second issue being posed today relating to the US education system and its shortcomings in preparing students for today’s jobs. On this topic, there is near universal agreement, the K-12 system is where the problem lies. Lauran Tyson calls for mandatory college education; Arriana Huffington astutely observes that the key ingredient here is teachers and without the power to fire bad teachers we are doomed. University of Pennsylvania President Amy Gutmann echoes President Obama’s State of the Union address calling for the elevation of the status of teaching and the adequate compensation that would accompany that so we can attract the best and the brightest to choose this honorable profession and also reminds us as the President did that our immigration policies