The skills gap takes different forms. In some cases, it is a matter of youth struggling to enter the workforce; in others, it is midcareer learners who have lost their jobs because of factory closings or layoffs, and who now must adapt. Whatever the circumstance, when people are disconnected from the workplace, they often disconnect from other social institutions as well. This is not healthy—neither for those left out nor for the societies in which they live.
So based on our research and experience, McKinsey has identified five principles that we believe should be the foundation of workforce-development programs—for funders, participants, and employers (Exhibit 1).