Should-Read: Mark Thoma: Trump’s Apprenticeships are Based upon a Problem That Doesn’t Exist: “The evidence… points to a skills mismatch… http://www.thefiscaltimes.com/Columns/2017/06/19/Trump-s-Apprenticeships-are-Based-upon-Problem-Doesn-t-Exist

…workers employed in jobs that do not match their qualifications, or unemployed workers with the right skills but located in the wrong place – rather than a shortage of workers with the requisite skills. Once again, the solution to this problem is for firms to offer higher wages and induce qualified unemployed workers to relocate or change jobs…. [But] firm owners would prefer to fix the problem in another way. If the supply of qualified workers can be increased sufficiently through government supported retraining programs and increased immigration, then the upward pressure on wages will disappear….

[Should] job retraining programs… be paid for by the government or individual businesses[?]… Consider… the degree of specialization in training. The government should help with very general skills that are useful across a wide variety of occupations, but the more specialized the training becomes in terms of skills that are only useful in a particular industry, the larger the share of the costs that should be paid by the firms who benefit…. The problem isn’t a skills gap. There will always be counterexamples to point to in a technologically dynamic economy, but the labor market signals we would expect to see if there was a widespread shortage of qualified workers are not there. The problem is the reluctance of firms to raise wages. Give them time. If businesses need workers as much as they say–if the unfilled positions are that important – business owners will eventually stop whining about the skills gap and begin increasing wages to attract the workers they need…