How One CEO Is Trying to Fix the Nation's Skills Gap

PHOTO: A student taking a course at the General Assembly. PlayGeneral Assembly
WATCH Here's one way to retrain the workforce

In 2016, the U.S. economy added 2.2 million jobs and closed the year with an unemployment rate of 4.7 percent -- the lowest in a decade.

Right now, there are over 5 million available jobs in the U.S and 7.5 million unemployed Americans. So what’s going on?

“This is what they call the skills gap,” according to Jake Schwartz, CEO of General Assembly.

Schwartz co-founded General Assembly, an online education and private school, to offer short, immersive courses on highly desirable skills like computer programming and data science in 2011. Today, there are 25 campuses in six countries, and while it’s not an accredited institution, it has been approved by California's Bureau for Private Postsecondary Education.

“The skills that businesses need change very frequently and the reality is…if you went to school once in your life between the ages of 18 and 22 then stopped, it is very unlikely that you’re going to keep up with the skills that are required into your late 20s and early 30s and beyond," Schwartz said during an interview on "Real Biz with Rebecca Jarvis."

General Assembly offers courses that teach skills like web and mobile development, data analytics and data science. It also provide graduates with a network of over 2,500 hiring partners to make the job search a little easier.

While Schwartz still believes a four-year college degree is necessary to develop critical thinking, he argues that “that’s not the same thing as knowing how to build a web application, or deal with large data sets.”

“We’re always looking for what’s in demand, what are companies looking for, and how can we get people the skills needed to get their foot in the door in that job?” Schwartz said.

Be sure to check out Schwartz's full interview with ABC's Rebecca Jarvis on "Real Biz with Rebecca Jarvis".

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