RETAINs Can Save the Day

Retains can save the day

Millions of jobs go unfilled every day because of a shortage of skilled labor - despite the fact that 30 million Americans are unemployed, underemployed, or stopped looking for work. The job skills gap is expanding and increasingly growing to the crisis point. America won't be able to outsource its needs. Nor will it be able to recruit enough qualified immigrants. As Baby Boomers retire - 10,000 per day for the next two decades - the job market landscape is changing. How can the United States retain its position as a global economic leader with a broken jobs pipeline?

The talent system's current structural collapse has accelerated over the past two decades. Rebuilding this system will not be easy. It will take time. As a McKinsey Global Institute study states, "To create the jobs that America needs to continue growing and remain competitive, leaders in government, business, and education will have to be creative - and willing to consider solutions business has not tried before."

Imperial Consulting has assisted corporations, government agencies, educators and NGOs for the past 40 years. Edward E. Gordon delivers a viable solution to the skill wars that pose a danger to America's prosperity in his newest book, Future Jobs: Solving the Employment & Skills Crisis.

The pillar to his comprehensive approach to this widening and costly problem revolves around the creation of what are known as RETAINs - Regional Talent Innovation Networks.

"RETAINs," says Gordon, "act as catalysts that bring together different segments of individual local communities to create new talent systems for a 21st-century workforce. To achieve that goal in the near future, we must bring RETAINs to scale across our society."

What is the concept behind these RETAINs? Why are they being formed? First, to stop population and business flight from a region or state. Second, to reverse tax base decline. Third, to end falling enrollment in community schools, stop declining governmental services, and turn around local economic stagnation. Community members are uniting to find solutions in a time of regional crisis. They want to retain their life, viability, and spirit to build a better, hopeful future for their community. To do this, they must update their local talent and develop its capacity to innovate.

RETAINs are non-profit public-private partnerships that promote joint business, governmental, educational, and societal efforts to overturn the status quo and rebuild regional education-to-employment systems. In the current talent debate, RETAINs are where private economic/career pursuits merge with public affairs. They help businesses large or small join together in shaping a region's new talent creation system.

No individual business or organization can rebuild a regional workforce by acting alone," asserts Gordon. "The U.S. business culture has traditionally treated its involvement in schooling as a part-time charitable activity. Now, more and more local/national business leaders are beginning to see that workforce development is not charity, but that the very sustainability of their business and community are dependent upon it. RETAINs help refocus this dialog so that all of a region's partners consider becoming more interdependent. Even the largest corporations now are beginning to realize they cannot solve their talent shortages by themselves, without participating in regional workforce systemic change."


RETAINs succeed because individual groups form a new shared vision of a larger community arising from a variety of isolate silos. Each group has its own agenda and needs. But each also has an influence on the whole community and each depends on the success of the whole community.

"RETAINs are helping people and businesses better adjust to the lightning speed of current labor market changes," notes Gordon. "We are in a watershed era of historical transformation driven by major technological advances. The key challenge is rethinking how we create stronger learning skills for more people. During this transition, it is slowly and often painfully becoming apparent that tomorrow' job, career, and life successes will only be earned by those who more fully develop their personal talents."

Let Imperial show you the way forward for your region, community, and their businesses and schools. Contact us to find out how.