Valuing Competency: How Businesses Thrive in the Skills Economy

Posted by Emma Rose Gallimore on 5/8/19 11:00 AM

Imagine a future in which employers focus more on skills competencies than on degrees when hiring new employees. While in some industries, that future may be far off, for middle-skills industries that are hit the hardest by the skills gap -- industries like allied health, manufacturing, the trades, and tech -- this new way of measuring candidate readiness might just be the solution they’re looking for.

Technology is changing the world of work faster than it ever has before. The degree a student earned five years ago, might not translate well to the workplace of today. This isn’t just true for technical jobs. Technology is changing the way we communicate with our customers and within our organization. It’s shifting the daily demands of work toward less repetitive and more collaborative and creative tasks. It’s even changing customer and employee expectations in a way that businesses couldn’t have predicted 10 years ago.

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Topics: workplace competencies, Skills Gap

Opportunity Summit 2019: Reimagining Workforce When Our Future is Right in Front of Us

Posted by Ronald J. Stefanski on 5/3/19 5:57 AM

“There is an old African proverb: If you don’t embrace the young in your village, they will return later to burn it down for its warmth.”

At yesterday's 2019 Opportunity Summit, Andy Hall, COO of the San Diego Workforce Partnership, inspired the crowd with this adage at the opening session.

Keep it simple. Start with the end in sight. 

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Topics: Penn Foster News & Events, Opportunity Youth, Youth Organizations, workforce training, workforce development

How to Grow Employees for Success

Posted by Emma Rose Gallimore on 5/1/19 11:00 AM

It’s no secret that finding skilled talent is getting harder. For decades, the labor pool had been more of a labor stream. It flowed in a predictable direction and employers knew where the best fishing spots were. Students graduated from high school, went to college, then were hooked by employers who gave them a job and, in many cases, a lifelong career. In this system, schools were responsible for educating and training. All businesses had to do was stand at their trusted fishing spot and catch whatever came by.

As anyone who has been in business over the last decade or so can tell you, the old fishing spots aren’t yielding like they used to. In 2018, the number of job openings in the U.S. rose to its highest level in almost two decades. That means more than 7.34 million job went unfilled in December.  It would be nice to be able to blame someone for this change in the market. It’s easy to blame the schools, the students, or the workers, but none of them are really at fault. At least, not entirely.

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Topics: Upskilling, Apprenticeship, workforce development

Employers: Setting Clear Expectations for New Hires Saves You Money

Posted by Desiree Sinkevich on 4/25/19 11:00 AM

High employee turnover is a growing issue in a myriad of industries, from manufacturing to retail, and can cost a company over 30% of annual wages per vacant position. The Society for Human Resource Management estimates that it takes forty-two days, on average, to fill an open position and the cost-per-hire hovers around $4,129. Recruiting and retaining quality candidates is a priority for employers and, in order to find top talent that will offer a return on their investment, some are using a sense of exclusivity to cull the herd of applicants. However, in order to hire and keep employees who are passionate about what they do and who will grow with the company, transparency and inclusivity are a must. “Find a reason to hire a candidate,” Marie Davis, Penn Foster’s Director of National Employer Partnerships, says, “not a reason to turn them away.”

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Topics: Employee Retention, Employers, Upskilling

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

Celebrating the Red Rock Job Corps Penn Foster Graduates

Posted by Jake Sotir on 3/28/19 1:29 PM

On March 20, 2019, yet another successful class of Penn Foster graduates walked the stage to receive their high school diplomas at Red Rock Job Corps in Lopez, PA. These students worked tirelessly over the course of several months to finally realize their goal and take a meaningful step toward creating better lives for themselves.

Located on a converted Air Force base in the mountains of Pennsylvania, Red Rock Job Corps is home to over 100 students ages 16-24 who have committed themselves to improving their lives by furthering their education. At Red Rock, they take classes to both pursue a high school diploma/equivalent and acquire trade skills of their choosing. Trades that students may elect to pursue include Office Administration, Auto Tech, Carpentry, and more. 

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Topics: High School Completion, Penn Foster News & Events, High School Diploma, Job Corps

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

 

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