Bending the Arc of Potential: Creating Economic Mobility Through Innovation at the ASU GSV X Summit

Posted by Desiree Sinkevich on 4/17/19 11:00 AM

It’s no secret that the modern workforce is in flux. Advances in automation and technology continue to transform the American economy and with it, the skills required to secure meaningful work. Combined with a growing skills gap, the workforce landscape in the United States is changing at a rapid pace. The solution is complicated. It will require government reform and creating educational pathways that lead to a secure future, and will take the joined efforts of industry experts in education, training, and workforce development, in tandem with policy makers, to navigate the new skills economy. 

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Topics: workforce development, wage gain, ASU GSV Summit

Upskilling 2.0: The Rise of Working Learners and Learning Workers

Posted by Desiree Sinkevich on 4/11/19 11:00 AM

The concept that a four-year university degree is the only path that leads to meaningful, lucrative employment is outdated. In many ways, it’s an ideal that can’t keep pace with the swift technological advancement that is impacting employers and workers in a variety of industries. Employers struggle to find trained talent to fill skilled or middle-skilled roles. Workers, many of whom rely on steady employment and income, can’t afford to take time from that work to learn in a classroom setting, let alone pay the exorbitant tuition of colleges and universities. And, if they do take that time, the degree earned doesn’t necessarily provide them with the skills that employers look for, leaving many workers underemployed at best.

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Topics: Upskilling, workforce development, Shift Happens 2

Watch Roadtrip Nation's "Skill Powered"

Posted by Penn Foster on 4/3/19 11:00 AM

"Skill Powered" is a documentary fueled by Penn Foster and Strada Education Network, available online and airing nationally on public television stations. It will reach over 60 million homes. “Skill Powered” follows three young people as they traveled 3,086 miles over 24 days in a green RV to find out how they can break expectations and pave their own career paths. Shyane, Alex, and Ryan met with leaders in the skilled trades, including costumers, chefs, and welders, to learn that a four-year degree isn’t the only way to find a fulfilling career! In turn, the leaders are invigorated by the enthusiasm and optimism brought by the young adults and get a little something to help them in their own work along the way. Check out Roadtrip Nation's “Skill Powered” here: http://bit.ly/2ODm56F

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Topics: Middle Skills Gap, Employers, Education, Training, Skills Gap, Skilled Trades, workforce training, workforce development, Skills Forward

Penn Foster is a Finalist for the $1B Wage Gain Challenge

Posted by Penn Foster on 3/28/19 2:00 PM

After the Great Recession in 2008, America slowly recovered from a high level of unemployment and businesses were moving toward booming once more. But despite an improving economy, median household income has barely budged since 1999, when it hit an average of $60,000. The median income from the 2017 U.S. Census was reported at $61,372. That’s a gain of $1,372, or 2.29% over 18 years. This incremental wage growth is unable to sustain the ideals behind the American Dream: meaningful work and economic advancement opportunities for all.

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Topics: Upskilling, Skills Gap, workforce training, wage gain

4 Insights from SXSWEDU 2019 on Closing the Skills Gap

Posted by Emma Rose Gallimore on 3/19/19 12:00 PM


When great minds work together they can unravel even the most complex problems. At SXSWEDU, a panel of experts looked at ways to close the skills gap for millions of middle-skills workers and students. Panel members included Penn Foster graduate Markcus Perez, Christine Mikulski of Guild Education, an organization that partners with Penn Foster, Erica Pandey of Axios, and Ivy Love of New America.

During their wide-ranging discussion, four topics arose again and again. These are the areas that employers, educators, and policy-makers must address to successfully close the skills gap.

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Topics: Middle Skills Gap, Apprenticeship, SXSW EDU

Why Middle Skills Employers Should Care About the Labor Force Participation Rate

Posted by Emma Rose Gallimore on 3/13/19 12:00 PM

The labor force participation rate might seem like one of those statistics that’s more interesting to governments than it is to business leaders. However, in a tight labor market, with an unemployment rate of just 4%, employers should be concerned to learn that there are millions of potential employees in the prime of their working life who don’t have a job and aren’t looking for one. What’s worse, a disproportionate number of these people are middle skills workers.

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Topics: Upskilling, workforce training, labor force participation

At SXSW EDU, Penn Foster to Tackle the Skills Gap and Talent Development

Posted by Emma Rose Gallimore on 3/5/19 4:58 PM

When engaged stakeholders gather to discuss the future of teaching and learning, Penn Foster is naturally right in the middle of things. We’ll be sharing what we know, learning from other industry leaders, and contributing to two programs at this year’s SXSW EDU conference in Austin, TX.

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Topics: Skills Gap, workforce training, SXSW EDU

Companies that are Revolutionizing Skills Training in Detroit

Posted by Emma Rose Gallimore on 3/4/19 11:00 AM

Detroit is a resilient city in the process of rebuilding a robust economic future. The path to great progress is only temporarily gated by the challenge that many workers face when seeking out the skills and education they need to thrive. Fortunately, some visionary companies have partnered with Penn Foster to create a path for these workers.

In 2013, battered by changes in manufacturing and a shift in the global economy, Detroit declared bankruptcy. That could have been the end of the story for the once-dynamic city, but Detroit is resilient. Passionate business, government, and community leaders immediately set to work to restore Detroit’s former greatness. Within 13 months, Detroit was out of bankruptcy and on the road to recovery.

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Topics: Upskilling, Upskill Detroit, Skills Forward

The Real Impact of Automation: A Skills Revolution

Posted by Frank Britt on 3/1/19 5:00 AM

You’ve heard that the biggest enemies of the skilled worker in the last two decades have been automation and the constantly improving technologies that will make human work obsolete. If a machine can complete a task more efficiently at less cost, it makes sense to invest in cutting edge technology over upskilling workers. Conventional wisdom has us fearing a fully automated workforce because it means the eradication of middle-skilled jobs in almost every industry. Before completely investing in an automated future over developing workers’ skills, consider this often overlooked, contrarian point of view: the impact of automation on the workforce will be incremental and, in fact, positive.

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Topics: Upskilling, skills solution, automation

How to Reduce Churn Among Retail Employees

Posted by Emma Rose Gallimore on 2/27/19 11:00 AM

The retail sector is under siege. Ecommerce is invading the retail space and not even industry giants are immune to their attacks. Consider the fall of Sears and Toys R Us. While retailers can’t prevent the rise of ecommerce, there is one threat they can control, employee churn.

Unfortunately, retail is notorious for high turnover rates and some business leaders are resigned to the idea that there’s nothing they can do to buck the status quo. That assumption is just plain wrong. You can reduce churn among retail employees if you give employees what they need to succeed. That means quality training and a clear path forward.

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Topics: Employee Retention, Upskilling, Retail, NRF

 

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