Forward-thinking companies are adapting the way they operate to remain competitive in a fast-moving, tech-driven modern business environment. It follows that the smartest ones are also rethinking how they prioritize learning and development in this age of continuous reskilling. Far from being a “nice to have” perk, giving employees learning opportunities is a key differentiator that attracts high-value talent and enables their best work, which is something every company executive can get behind.
During our discussion about careers at the March 27 event at Hayes Middle School in West Virginia, many students indicated a desire to be a doctor or a veterinarian - careers traditionally popular among middle school-aged students. Loftis’ class, however, knows what it takes to get to these popular career choices. After participating in the STEM Scholars program, students demonstrate a better grasp of the STEM skills required to pursue these careers.
Our meeting on March 7, the first in a series led as a joint effort between the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation and Lumina Foundation, kicked off an eight month sprint of work to improve the talent marketplace. All of the organizations involved are experts on today’s emerging technologies, such as semantic web standards (e.g., linked data), distributed ledger technologies (e.g., blockchain), artificial intelligence, and machine learning. We know that these technologies have the power, if leveraged properly, to transform the talent marketplace and drive future innovation.
Despite historically low unemployment and a growing economy, hiring skilled workers remains a challenge in many of our nation’s key industries, such as manufacturing, construction, information technology, and healthcare. We know America’s young people have talent. Now it’s time to embrace the tools necessary to more effectively discover and guide that emerging talent to high demand careers.
Closing the communications gap requires investments on both sides of the equation. Employers and education providers must work together to ensure the signals are accurate, clear, and verifiable. As the use of digital credentials expands, job seekers will gain unprecedented insight into the link between what they learn and the sort of employment opportunities that exist in their community -- or around the country. And for employers, the improved signal-to-noise ratio means a higher percentage of qualified applicants for each job opening, and improved ability of hiring managers to identify the best candidates for their position.
Technology has transformed a lot of the things we do at work, but learning and development (L&D) has mostly stuck with the status quo. To attract and retain necessary talent, employers would be wise to nurture a learning culture and revisit their L&D strategy to make learning a strategic asset.
As the U.S. economy struggles to break out of economic stagnation, these investments in the different phases of education are indeed crucial, however greater attention should be paid to the role adult education programs play in sustaining and growing American commerce. Only by making these success stories more public and well known can we better position adult education advocates to make their case and secure financial resources for these vital adult education programs.
Breaking down STEM barriers starts in the classroom, providing science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) learning in an inclusive digital environment. And this education shouldn’t be limited to high school students. Igniting STEM interest in middle school increases girls’ STEM interest later in their education.
Economic mobility rests on the opportunities that individuals are granted or seek out. Education plays a big part of that, which is why many professionals are now looking for continuous ways to improve their skillsets. But how do you validate that people have earned what they say they've earned? The reality is that people lie about their credentials. The solution? Use advanced technology to make credentials trackable and unfakeable.