Washington, D.C. – Business Forward Foundation issued its latest report on how the future of work provides a road map for education reform. High School & the Future of Work argues that by identifying the challenges driving the skills gap, we can better understand how to focus our K-12 system on the preparedness of young workers.

“We know what our students need: basic technical skills, the ability to learn continuously, strong teamwork and judgment, and self-reliance,” said Jim Doyle, president of Business Forward Foundation. “We must prepare our kids to move through jobs quicker, re-skill when necessary, and take advantage of new technologies.”

“Two-thirds of jobs in the United States require some post-secondary education and training,” said Doyle. “We should drive opportunities for internships and apprenticeships, emphasize that more college is not always necessary, and invest heavily in worker training.”

The report’s key points include:

  • Only one in four high school seniors is “college ready” in math, science, English, and reading.
  • Despite ranking 2nd in per pupil spending for K-12 among OECD countries, the United States ranks 13th in reading, 37th in math, and 18th in science.
  • STEM jobs are growing six times faster than non-STEM jobs.
  • 85% of jobs that today’s learners will be doing in 2030 don’t exist yet.
  • 54% of workers in the United States need re-skilling.
  • Persistent skills shortages could cost the United States $2.5 trillion over the next decade.



The Business Forward Foundation is an independent research and education organization that takes a business-minded look at policy issues affecting America’s economic competitiveness. Our work combines insights and advice from business leaders across the country with rigorous policy analysis. Through white papers, issue briefs, conference calls, and other events, we educate policy makers and the public about climate change, immigration reform, infrastructure investment, the future of work, and other critical issues.