In today’s rapidly-evolving labor market, many employers are struggling to attract and retain highly qualified and talented workers. In an article published in Talent Economy, Penn Foster CEO Frank Britt and Innovate+Educate Founder & CEO Jamai Blivin argue that, as a result of recent tax reform, businesses now have a greater opportunity and responsibility to address this growing skills gap by investing in the continuous development of their employees. With the shelf life of skills constantly shrinking and the durability of degrees dwindling, it’s becoming increasingly more difficult for workers to keep their skills current.
Many major corporations have already begun addressing this skills gap in proactive ways. According to Britt and Blivin, companies like Walmart and AT&T have rolled out “ambitious programs to provide employees with a panoply of educational options, from corporate training to college tuition assistance.” For example, Walmart has created a culture of continuous learning by opening hundreds of regional training academies for their employees in order to help them reach individual learning goals and develop the skills necessary to advance in their careers.¹ Thus far, they’ve opened almost 200 academies and expect to train hundreds of thousands of employees annually.²
In addition, Penske Corp. offers their employees the opportunity to improve their technical skills through programs that allow them to learn at their own pace while maintaining a full-time job. Adobe’s Digital Academy makes it possible for their workers to enroll in coding boot camps and gain valuable on-the-job experience. While each business has their own unique strategy for upskilling their employees, they’ve all shown a commitment to developing a workforce that’s equipped to withstand constant dynamic shifts in job demand.
It’s clear, Britt and Blivin contend, that the future of the American economy depends on the ability of businesses to align increased job demand with skills training. In order to do that successfully, organizations must be able to provide their employees with opportunities that allow them to further their education without having to leave their jobs to do so. Britt and Blivin explain that “modern day apprenticeships have proven their impact” on economic mobility for millions of workers and that continuing to invest in apprenticeships can benefit both workers and the companies that employ them.
Learn about the role that apprenticeships can play in developing a highly skilled workforce: