U.S. ranks below Borat's country in preparing youth to excel

no school in summer learning loss arne duncan education secretary_00000216

Kazakhstan is beating the U.S. in preparing its youth to enter the workforce.

America is also behind Serbia, Latvia, Malta and Jordan in grooming its young people under 15 to enter and excel in the workforce, according to the World Economic Forum's Human Capital Index.

The U.S. now ranks 40th in the world.

The World Economic Forum's index takes into account factors such as education level and quality, job skill preparedness and incidence of child labor.

The new report reiterates why education is likely to be a hot issue on the 2016 campaign trail. As singer will.i.am said last week, many "[American] kids still dream of being Michael Jordan. They still dream of being LeBron James." He'd rather see them aiming to be the next Steve Jobs.

America's low education quality put it behind Canada too.

Related: Why John Oliver's maternity leave message matters

"The United States lags behind [Canada] on the Under 15 Age Group pillar, revealing relative weaknesses in primary and secondary enrollment rates and the quality of primary education," according to the report.

The U.S. performed better in the overall Human Capital Index category -- which includes all age groups -- placing 17th. That was right behind Estonia and Slovenia. Adults are ranked by things such as labor force participation, unemployment and the number of high-skill jobs.

The World Economic Report report comes as President Obama has made a big push for American students to learn more STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) skills. STEM businesses consistently say they have more demand for qualified employees than supply.

Finland beat the crowd, ranking No. 1 overall in preparing and training its work force. It also placed first in the under 15 group.

Personal Finance


CNNMoney Sponsors