In many industries, the US is still a world-beater.

For instance, although it’s declined since its 1970s heyday, US manufacturing is still the largest on Earth – producing 18.2 per cent of the world’s goods according to stats site The Balance.

But one of the main problems manufacturing and other industries are facing is the skills gap – a 2018 Deloitte report stated that 89 per cent of manufacturers are leaving vacancies unfilled because of a lack of suitably qualified applicants, while the Progressive Policy Institute stated that 6.9 million jobs remained unfilled as of January 2019.

On a macroeconomic level, this presents an obvious problem in terms of lost revenue, but on an individual level, it represents a golden opportunity for any worker with the ambition and application to carve a career by bolstering their armory with the skills employers are crying out for.

So with that in mind, here are five ways tomorrow’s industry leaders are upskilling in 2020.

1. Internships

Internships are an excellent way to gain real-life experience in a range of skills that can include everything from project and people management to accounting and IT.

And as well as being career-oriented, internships at an institution like Chicago’s Federal Reserve bank are paid – so no candidate is out of pocket while pursuing their aspirations and they’re accessible to applicants from a wide range of backgrounds.

2. Summer schools

For students approaching their final year of college or university, attending a summer program can endow them with crucial experience under the tutelage of industry experts and differentiate them to employers once they graduate.

Architecture is a pertinent example – has a handy list of mentorship programs available coast to coast every summer.

3. Apprenticeships

Sometimes, getting hands-on experience as early as possible in your chosen profession is more valuable than spending years buried in college books, so modern apprenticeships are perfectly designed for ambitious school leavers and plugging the skills gap.

The apprenticeship finder feature on can help anyone find the most relevant and recent opportunities in their city or state, so it’s always a good starting point in any entry-level job search.

4. Volunteering

Volunteering is not only altruistic and community-minded – it can also provide the workers of tomorrow with vital hands-on experience in an industry of their choice, through working alongside experience paid colleagues and providing vital services to the public.

Government agencies are always on the lookout for helping hands and sites like list lots of opportunities to get your hands dirty on worthwhile and fulfilling projects.

5. Distance learning

When you want to migrate careers or climb the ladder in your current organization, but have kids to care for, enhancing your qualifications by attending a bricks and mortar institution can be impractical.

However, degrees from ARU Distance Learning can be studied flexibly from home and you can apply the practical lessons you learn at work instantly as you progress towards earning a qualification like an MBA or digital marketing degree that helps you make major career moves.

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