Creating a Talent Management Pipeline to Close the Skills Gap

A growing skills gap threatens the future health of the American economy. A mismatch between the competencies students develop through postsecondary education and training and the needs of employers means that graduates have a more difficult time launching careers, and employers face challenges filling job openings.

“High-wage, high-skilled jobs aren’t being filled because employers can’t find workers who have the needed competencies and credentials,” said Carol D’Amico, executive vice president for Philanthropy and National Engagement at USA Funds. “Students say they’re going to college so they can land good jobs, but half of recent college graduates are unemployed, underemployed or wish they would have pursued a different postsecondary program. At the same time more than 5 million jobs are going unfilled.”

In 2014, with $2 million in funding from USA Funds, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation launched a Talent Pipeline Management initiative to transform the education and workforce system to address this skills gap. The TPM model includes three key elements:

  • Employer-led. The model positions employers as key customers for the services education and training providers deliver in developing talent.
  • Demand-driven. Postsecondary education and training outcomes must better align with the demands of the workforce.
  • Supply chain management principles. Familiar to many businesses, supply chain management is a sophisticated, life-cycle approach to meeting customer demand for goods and services. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation is working to apply the supply chain approach to workforce development by identifying current and future job skill requirements and then working backwards to determine the education, core competencies and skill sets workers will need not only to land a job but also promote sound career development decisions.upply chain management principles. 


Supply Chain Management


The Chamber has issued a white paper on the TPM approach, hosted a series of regional and national summits, helped establish seven learning networks to apply TPM practices, and issued an implementation guide with six key strategies for building the talent pipeline.

The second phase of the project, funded with a nearly $2.5 million grant from USA Funds®, will accelerate adoption of the TPM model, bringing it to 40 additional communities and engaging approximately 1,000 employers. The Chamber will establish a TPM Academy to provide instruction on talent pipeline strategies and implementation guidance to business professionals. In addition, the Chamber will develop implementation resources, such as software to help automate components of the TPM model.

Ultimately, widespread adoption of the TPM model should mean smoother college-to-career transitions for students, a better supply of prospective employees for business owners, and a healthier economy.

Talent Pipeline Model Seeks to Close Skills Gap