North America faces an alarming skills gap that will negatively affect the economic performance an competitiveness of the United States, Canada and Mexico, as they prepare to embark on the United States, Mexico and Canada Agreement (USMCA). Simultaneously, all the countries are facing rapid economic and technological transformations. This set of challenges calls for priority investment in the development of the continent's workforces.
Manpower's 2018 survey identifies skills mismatches as a key problem facing all three countries- 50% of Mexican employers, 46% of U.S. employers and 41% of Canadian employers have had difficulty filling open positions. North America's highly integrated production and commercial networks mean that regional collaboration on workforce development is vital. If done well, such collaboration is an opportunity to create jobs, achieve higher levels of productivity, and strengthen the competitiveness of the region vis-a-vis China and other global economic powers. The Wilson Center's Ambassador Earl "Tony" Wayne has written an important piece that looks at how to train and upskill the labor forces in all three countries to facilitate their economic prosperity both as individual countries and as an integrated region. For further reading see the complete analysis at: https://www.wilsoncenter.org/sites/default/files/workforce_development_presentation_for_csg_west_july_17_with_as_delivered_points_added.pdf.