As the American economy has taken on a service-oriented identify over the last couple decades, the job market has become an ultra-competitive arena. Workers today are expected to possess a higher level of skill than at any time in history. Knowledge and skill have become priceless commodities businesses seek out and deploy to gain a competitive advantage. The companies with the most adept employees are the ones leading the way in their market.
Employers use credentials as a means to identify more skilled and capable workers (i.e. more valued commodities). As a result, diplomas, certificates and degrees have become a form of currency, each with differing values. Job seekers acquire this currency by developing more skills and attaining greater knowledge, which they then exchange for better jobs and higher wages.
For organizations who work to improve the marketability and employability of job seekers, today’s highly-skilled labor market requires more training. But there is good news. Online, tech-enabled learning platforms have made it drastically easier to teach skills and get job seekers the credentials they need. Online delivery affords a great deal of flexibility that helps increase the likelihood an individual sees their training to the end. Competency-based education caters to the individual and helps improve learning outcomes. Technology has made education more accessible to the masses and more personalized for the individual.
Here are three types of education and skills training programs that can help job seekers become more marketable and more employable – and fast.
High School Diploma with Career Training Electives
Help job seekers get a jump start on their career by providing a high school diploma program with career training electives. These programs enable job seekers to work towards a high school diploma while simultaneously pursuing a certificate of completion in an in-demand career field, such as general healthcare, pharmacy technician, information technology or carpentry.
A ‘career-focused’ high school diploma lets job seekers achieve two credentials in half the time. Here’s how it works: While students take their high school courses, they can also enroll in a career concentration by focusing all of their electives in a career field.
A high school diploma is a ticket to more senior and better paying jobs. Over the course of a career, high school graduates will earn, on average, $280,000 to $350,000 more than individuals without a high school diploma, according to estimates from the Social Security Administration. And, with an online program, individuals of any age can go back to high school for their diploma. They’re not restricted to a high school equivalency exam.
The certificate of completion in a career field gives job seekers a leg up in the employment market as well. To employers, it demonstrates the candidate is interested in the field and possesses prior knowledge that can be leveraged to more quickly contribute once starting work.
Best of all, programs can be completed in as little as 6 months, speeding up the path to employment.
Career certificates are an essential tool to help your clients gain employment and achieve career success. These short-term, career-focused programs help job seekers learn in-demand career skills and differentiate themselves when applying to jobs.
The level of skill required to land a job is high and getting higher. Of the 11.5 million jobs created since the 2008 economic recession, 11.6 million jobs – or 99% -- have gone to individuals with some level of postsecondary education and training1. By offering career certificate programs you can quickly help job seekers gain the postsecondary experience that differentiates them in the eyes of employers.
When you equip your clients with a career certificate in a field that is needed and valued in the local economy, you equip your students to succeed in the long-term. They can add their names to list of people who landed 99% of those new jobs.
Also consider online career diploma programs. They often take a bit longer to complete than career certificates, but it’s another level of credentialing that can help job seekers stick out in the hiring process.
Soft Skills Training
Don’t let poor soft skills be the reason your clients were passed over on a job they were qualified for. Individuals with well-developed soft skills are the same individuals landing the job and then keeping it. Soft skills have immeasurable value during the interview and then also on the job.
Job seekers have a massive advantage compared to their competitors in the job market. While skills such as communication, teamwork and problem solving have always been crucial to an employee’s job performance, employers are just recently awakening to their business value. For example, 40 percent of employers believe a lack of soft skills is the biggest proficiency gap in the U.S. workforce2.
Don’t overlook the correlation between strong soft skills and long-term career success. Many employers put them on par with the technical skills of how to do the job. According to a recent Harvard University-led study, 85 percent of job success comes from having well-developed soft skills and people skills (vs. 15% for technical skills)3.
Soft skills training readies job seekers for situations before they encounter them on the job, better preparing them to handle situations in a professional and adept manner. Most importantly, soft skills training gives job seekers the awareness needed to identify situations in which to apply soft skills and the vocabulary required to navigate challenging real-world situations.
Recommended for You: The ROI of Soft Skills Training Is Probably More Than You Think
Sources: Photo Credit (1) America’s Divided Recovery: College Haves & Have Nots (2) Adecco Staffing USA (3) The Soft Skills Disconnect