Group Students Hands Raised Graduation Concept

States Use Workforce Data to Connect Colleges to Careers

First published by SHRM, October 12, 2017. 

A new study highlights how several states are helping students choose what to study depending on the skills local employers say they need.

The report from Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workforce (CEW), a nonprofit research and policy institute based in Washington, D.C., outlines ways that data is being translated to help job seekers and employers better understand the connections between the skills available in local talent pools and what students study in college.

“Learners and workers need a modern guidance system with clear and comprehensive consumer information that will help them make good college and career decisions,” said Anthony P. Carnevale, director of the center and the report’s lead author. “Such a system will also help employers frustrated by skills shortages to more precisely identify and hire talented workers, colleges to refresh and strengthen their programs to improve student outcomes, and policymakers to better allocate resources to build strong economies.”

The report features examples of eight states integrating data to:

• Assist schools in developing curricula aligned with the skills and abilities that job seekers will need to succeed with local employers.

• Help workers understand how to take advantage of postsecondary education and training options as they change jobs and navigate their careers.

Applying Data—Quickly

“The challenge is to use local market data that is captured in real time so that students can see the relevance of what they’re doing and employers can see how those skills connect to what they need,” said Mike Knapp, CEO and co-founder of the job placement platform SkillSmart, which connects employers, job seekers and educational partners to help close identified skills gaps. “It is also important for the states to allow school systems to make curriculum modifications based on local market needs, or for the states to be able to aggregate the real-time skills of local industries into a broader statewide curriculum. There are some good tools out there that walk students through their interests and how those align to the workforce but [that] don’t then link to local or regional markets.”

In Maryland, for example, state officials implemented several new assessments to ensure that high school graduates are “college or career ready” but neglected to connect the test results to the skills employers said they needed, Knapp said. “While the effort is good, it’s still going to take a while for states to go from a theoretical exercise into a practical local activity that shows students how the skills they’re learning in school link directly to jobs in their communities.”

Lessons Learned from the States

The Indiana Chamber of Commerce and Indiana Chamber Foundation created IndianaSkills in 2012 as an online jobs database that allows employers to compare educational requirements by job, view wages paid to similar employees around the state and create job descriptions. Job seekers can use the site to find career opportunities and short-term training programs that best match their skills and interests, are in high demand and offer competitive wages.

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Maryland Meeting the Urgent Demand for Cybersecurity Workers

First published by I-95 Business, October, 2017.

Cybersecurity is one of this century’s most urgent global imperatives. Financial damages are measured in the trillions of dollars and are a result of the proliferation of digital devices into every aspect of our daily lives in pursuit of the holy grail of convenience, access and speed with little or no regard for protecting valuable assets from adversaries. And these cyber adversaries are increasing the sophistication, variety and frequency of attacks. Adding to this is the fact that cyber attackers have advantages: it’s easier to attack than defend, and there are many weaknesses in all but the very best systems.

Maryland’s Unprecedented Opportunity

There is a silver lining in this gloomy cloud, and it’s Maryland’s opportunity for unmatched job creation. As a result of our proximity to and experience with the U.S. intelligence agencies and the Department of Defense as well as our stellar academic and training organizations, we have some of the most skilled cybersecurity workers and the highest geographic concentration of cybersecurity workforce in the country (according to NIST’s CyberSeek program data). And with the U.S. federal government market no longer capable of delivering high job growth, focusing on capturing high market share in a high growth, high pay industry like cybersecurity is smart.

Globally, there are 1 million open cybersecurity jobs, a number that experts project to rapidly increase to 1.5 million. With the cybersecurity jobs demand exceeding workforce supply, Maryland companies are competing with companies across the United States and internationally for existing talent, leading to a need to embrace “new collar” jobs, a phrase coined by IBM CEO Ginni Rometty referring to jobs that require skills but not necessarily specific degrees.

Solution: Maryland Cyber Jobs Platform

To take advantage of this unprecedented opportunity for job creation, the non-profit Cybersecurity Association of Maryland, Inc. (CAMI), in partnership with Germantown-based SkillSmart, recently launched Maryland Cyber Jobs (MCJ) at www.MDcyberjobs.com. MCJ is a state-ofthe- art online jobs platform. What makes this platform unique and more valuable in comparison to traditional, mass-market job boards is its reliance on a skills-based methodology and algorithm to identify qualified candidates that match employers’ specific needs. It’s a process that ultimately saves employers time, effort and money.

The platform also helps candidates identify not only jobs that match their current skills but also skills they might need to acquire for the jobs they want. There is no cost for job seekers to create a profile and use the MCJ platform, which will show them how they stack up (score) against specific hiring requirements for individual jobs. MCJ goes a step further in the job search process, presenting job seekers with information and connections to education, training, certification, internship and apprenticeship resources where they can get the skills and experience needed for jobs of interest.

 

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Enough Talk, Let’s Get to Work

Why is it that each day we see a story about a company that can’t find workers, communities without jobs, and graduates not finding work?

It’s not that we don’t have jobs. 
We have 6.2 million unfilled jobs in the U.S., more than at any time in our history.

It’s not that we don’t have training. 
We have more capacity and more students enrolled in our community colleges, training programs and universities than at any point in history.

It’s not that we don’t have good people willing to work.
We have more high school graduates, vocational school and community college graduates, and university graduates than any time in our history. We have thousands of experienced, underemployed Veterans transitioning from the military.

All the same, more people are struggling to find good jobs than at any time in our history – and this is a problem that we can tackle right now in every community in the U.S. Let’s start with what’s broken and then address how to fix it.

First, job boards don’t work. Simply matching job descriptions to resumes does not lead to good outcomes and job descriptions don’t do a good job of telling an applicant what they need to do to be successful. Ask any employer, all you get is a time-wasting list of unqualified candidates to sort through.

Second, when an individual is not well qualified for a job, there is no clear path of how to get there.

Third, just because a course is offered at a local college doesn’t mean that it will help you get a job.

Finally, most people, employers, or schools don’t want to do anything differently, even thought the current process doesn’t work.

Let’s resolve this Labor Day to fix this mess. Here’s what to do:

First, employers must identify the skills they need and use this in their job postings – not just entry-level.  This will make it clearer within their organization and to applicants what they must do to be successful.

Second, job seekers must use the specific experiences they’ve had in their life (school, work, volunteer, etc.) to demonstrate how they can do the skills the employer is seeking.

Third, local colleges and training programs must look at the skills the employers are seeking to ensure their courses provide students with what they need to get hired.

These three simple steps will help align the interests of the three key stakeholders in a community – employers, job seekers, and educators – and train better employees, improve education outcomes and make stronger employers.

In the words of Home Depot – Let’s Do This… and we can help.

 

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Maryland cyber group aims to decrease number of unfilled industry jobs

First published by Baltimore Business Journal, August 22, 2017.

The Cybersecurity Association of Maryland Inc. is launching a new online jobs platform in partnership with Germantown job-seeking firm SkillSmart.

Maryland Cyber Jobs was built to address the shortage of qualified candidates to fill open cyber positions across all industry sectors. Using a skills-based methodology tailored to each hiring company, the platform aims to reduce the time, effort and expense for Maryland employers to find qualified candidates for cyber-related positions.

The Maryland Cyber Jobs platform can also help potential employees to find jobs that best match their experience and current skills, and identify any skills they need to acquire for the jobs they want. The service identifies relevant education, training, certification, internship and apprenticeship resources in Maryland, where job seekers can obtain necessary skills and experience.

Private employers and state officials have been making strides recently to confront the cyber talent gap issue. The new jobs platform is another step in that vein.

Labor statistics have shown that more than 200,000 U.S. cybersecurity jobs are currently unfilled, and the shortage is projected to grow to more than 1.5 million unfilled positions by 2019.

The talent shortage is particularly an issue for Maryland, which has more than 12,000 IT and cybersecurity companies, serving organizations like the National Security Agency and U.S. Cyber Command. The state is also home to 17 higher education institutions that have been designated National Academic Centers of Excellence in Cyber Defense.

Stacey Smith, the Cybersecurity Association’s executive director, said numerous commercial businesses and cybersecurity companies have complained that using standard job boards is laborious. Recruiters often have to sift through too much information to find the few people they might actually want to hire. The new jobs platform marks an attempt to streamline the cyber recruiting process.

“For us, it’s not about the number of applicants, it’s about the quality,” Evan Dornbush, founder and CEO of Point3 Security, said in a statement. “I’d rather have four good ones to review versus having to sift through 400.”

Smith said the jobs platform is not just for use by cybersecurity companies, but for any business, government entity or nonprofit looking to fill a cyber position. Smith said she hopes as the platform grows, it will attract potential candidates from across the U.S. and from foreign countries as well, brining a larger skilled workforce to Maryland.

Maryland has one of the most robust cyber industries in the world, but it needs to be supported by a strong talent pool to continue to grow.

“This is a highly valuable competitive advantage for our state, and we’re excited and proud to offer it,” Smith said in a statement.

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Cybersecurity Association of Maryland, Inc. Launches SkillSmart

The Cybersecurity Association of Maryland, Inc. (CAMI) announced today the launch of a state-of-the-art online jobs platform in partnership with Maryland-based firm SkillSmart. Maryland Cyber Jobs (MCJ) addresses the chronic shortage across all industry sectors in finding qualified candidates for Maryland cybersecurity positions. Using a skills-based methodology tailored to each hiring entity, MCJ reduces the time, effort and expense for Maryland employers to find qualified candidates for cyber-related positions. MCJ also helps candidates identify jobs that match their experience and current skills, as well as the skills they need to acquire for the jobs they want. Additionally, the platform identifies Maryland education, training, certification, internship and apprenticeship resources where job seekers can get the skills and experience needed for jobs of interest. The jobs platform can be found at http://www.mdcyberjobs.com

“This platform dramatically reduces the time a hiring organization will have to invest to find best-fit candidates,” notes CAMI Executive Director Stacey Smith. She continues, “Numerous commercial businesses and cybersecurity companies have told us that using standard job boards is laborious because they have to sift through too much information to find the few gems they might actually want to hire. MCJ directly addresses this shortcoming. Additionally, it’s a platform that connects all three of the critical elements for a successful workforce program: employers, job seekers and entities that provide the education, skills, training and experience for job seekers.”

Founder & CEO of Point3 Security, Evan Dornbush, notes, “We found 4 excellent-fit candidates within 3 days of posting several of our jobs and the required skills. We worked closely with a member of the SkillSmart team to optimize our job postings to attract the right candidates. That personalized service was a unique benefit for us in the job posting process and it’s already paying off with the quality of candidates we’ve received. For us, it’s not about the number of applicants; it’s about the quality. I’d rather have 4 good ones to review versus having to sift through 400.”

MCJ is not just for cybersecurity companies; it’s for all businesses, government entities and non-profit organizations looking to fill their cyber hiring needs.

“As we grow and market the platform, I expect we’ll be attracting candidates from across the nation and internationally. This will serve as a great workforce attraction tool for our state,” adds Smith.

Convenience is paramount in today’s fast-moving economy and with the launch of MCJ combined with its online directory of 350+ MD cybersecurity product and service providers, CAMI has made www.MDcyber.com the one-stop shop for cybersecurity solutions and workforce within the state of Maryland and accessible globally. “This is a highly valuable competitive advantage for our State, and we’re excited and proud to offer it,” says Smith.

 

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About SkillSmart
SkillSmart is a skills-based, technology platform that helps growing organizations and industries find the talent they need by matching job seekers to employment opportunities based on skills and abilities. To accomplish this, SkillSmart partners with companies from a variety of industries and provides access to their proprietary technology to allow them to search and filter through a pipeline of qualified candidates. Where gaps exist, SkillSmart partners with local training resources to provide skill-building opportunities. SkillSmart’s mission is to end the skills gap that employers face in filling various roles.
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: SkillSmart Selected for 2017 MIT Inclusive Innovation Challenge

SkillSmart has been selected as a finalist in the 2017 MIT Inclusive Innovation Challenge, sponsored by MIT’s Initiative on the Digital Economy, which is awarding over $1 million to tech-driven organizations that are reinventing the future of work.

This year’s award categories are Skills Development & Opportunity Matching, Income Growth & Job Creation, Technology Access, and Financial Inclusion. Nearly 160 expert Core Judges scored and commented on each completed application assigned to them. The 16 top scoring Finalists will advance to the Champion Committee, who will select four Grand Prize Winners to each receive $150,000. The remaining 12 Finalists will each receive $35,000. On October 12, 2017, the IIC will announce and celebrate the Winners at a gala event at HUBweek.

Finalists are using technology today that reinvents work and creates economic opportunity for people below the top rung of the economic ladder; these finalists are currently enhancing shared prosperity through their product or service. Both for-profit companies and non-profit organizations have been chosen for the 2017 MIT Inclusive Innovation Challenge.

SkillSmart is competing in the category of Income Growth & Job Creation. Read more from MIT Inclusive Innovation or contact Jason Green at 240-498-4492 or jgreen@skillsmart.us.

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About SkillSmart
SkillSmart is a skills-based, tech-enabled platform that helps growing organizations and industries find the talent they need by matching job seekers to employment opportunities based on skills and abilities. To accomplish this, SkillSmart partners with companies from a variety of industries and provides access to their proprietary technology to allow them to search and filter through a pipeline of qualified candidates. SkillSmart’s mission is to end the skills gap that employers face in filling various roles. 
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National education startup workshop held in Phoenix to forge new relationships, partnerships with local companies

First published by Phoenix Business Journal, July 31, 2017.

Washington, D.C.-based Village Capital brought 12 education startups from across the country to Phoenix to meet local companies, mentors and city and business leaders for possible partnerships.

The four-day workshop was held at the Phoenix-based social entrepreneur incubator Seed Spot from July 25 to 28. The local workshop, which focused on workforce development, is part of a series of three workshops held in various cities across the country, said Marissa Lowman, Village Capital’s education practice lead.

“Village Capital finds, trains and invests in entrepreneurs that may not traditionally get funding, such as entrepreneurs from smaller cities and founded by minorities and women,” Lowman said. “We chose Phoenix because of its leading universities, thriving startup ecosystem and the high number of local companies that our startups could partner with.”

For example, Jason Green, co-founder of SkillSmart, a D.C.-based software-as-a-service startup designed to improve hiring outcomes, talked to the Phoenix economic development department and Arizona State University on future partnerships.

“I am quite impressed with the work being done locally,” said Green, who was visiting Phoenix for the first time. “I didn’t have to convince people here of the importance of workforce ability, which has been difficult in other cities. We’re mainly here to build partnerships, relationships and maybe open an office here one day.”

Nathan Doctor, CEO and co-founder of Qualified.io, a San Francisco-based software startup that trains and assesses software engineers for companies, had a good conversation with Scottsdale-based ed-tech company Parchment.

“We had good synergy with Parchment, which had used a competitor of ours but no longer does. We talked about how to improve their hiring process and train current developers with new technology,” Doctor said. “People are super friendly here. It seems like a great community.”

At the end of the third workshop, which will be held in Denver in mid September, two startups will receive investment from Village Capital. The winning companies will be chosen by the attending startups through a peer ranking, Lowman said.

“The workshops are held in different cities to show them what different communities have to offer and as a way to build new relationships,” she said. “We are very impressed with how engaged the community is here. Everyone wanted to help out.”

The AT&T-sponsored workshop was the first big event for Seed Spot in its new space in Phoenix’s Warehouse District. Village Capital and Seed Spot have partnered over the past six months as Seed Spot launched in D.C., said John Johnson, Seed Spot’s community development manager.

“We were happy to support them by providing a space for them to hold their workshop in Phoenix,” Johnson said. “This workshop did so much for the Phoenix community from what I observed. All of the ventures participating in the workshop were from other parts of the country, providing a new set of businesses for our community leaders to engage with. There were more than 30 leaders from the community, including Mayor Greg Stanton, who visited the space to provide support and guidance to the businesses. I believe this event gave the Phoenix community a glimpse into how Seed Spot’s expansion has already and will continue to bring positive connections to Phoenix.”

Paul Parent, a product marketing director with Gilbert-based financial aid software company CampusLogic, was part of a local group that offered ways to help Village Capital through company connections and letting them know what’s going on in the ed-tech community.

“I wanted to pay it forward, create connections and hope good things will happen,” said Parent, a volunteer with EdTechAZ, a website that promotes the Arizona ed-tech ecosystem. “I’m hoping for future partnerships, company expansions and just basic knowledge sharing. I’m excited they brought this here.”

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Skills on the National Stage

skills on the national stageWe are excited to see the emergence of a national conversation on the importance of using skills to build the workforce, improve hiring outcomes, and increase opportunities for success. In the past few months we have seen a focus on rebuilding America’s infrastructure, products Made In America, and helping workers rebuild their skills to increase opportunities for success in the workplace.

There have also been recent efforts on behalf of some foundations to direct tens of millions of dollars to see if philanthropy can build a system to create a stronger workforce.

In just two years, the SkillSmart platform has been used by more than 20,000 job seekers, to assist more than 30 employers to hire more than 1,000 people for jobs paying between $35,000 and $80,000 annually. 

By using a skills-based model for hiring, SkillSmart increases transparency in the hiring process, improves hiring outcomes for job seekers and increases employee retention. We have demonstrated that a skills-based focus on hiring is not just a good idea, it’s good business.

We have real data from working with employers and communities to focus on skills to build stronger workers, increase job retention, and improve efficiency in hiring. Most important, we’ve found this can be done with a scalable technology solution with the market paying for these outcomes and without relying on philanthropic dollars.

Skills-based hiring is not a charitable activity; it’s a real-world, market-based solution to close the skills gap and grow our economy. And we’re supporting the movement by continuing to identify new clients, in new communities, and new industries.

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The Future of Workforce Development: A Sit Down with Innovate + Educate

Three Questions With Ryan Craig, Jason Green, and Jason Palmer. Interviews conducted and compiled by Susanna Williams of Innovate+Educate. Edited for length.

1. How do you see work changing?

Jason Palmer, General Partner at New Market Ventures:

People are going to have more different jobs and careers than ever before.

Jason Green, Co-Founder of SkillSmart:

This is part of the evolution of work. We have to understand the regularity with which people change jobs- as many as 16 times over the course of their lives now. Jobs are much less defined- instead of rigid jobs you could go to school for, we’re seeing all sorts of new jobs that use skills in new combinations.

Jason Palmer:

People are getting much smarter about figuring out what skills and credentials they need that will ladder them up their career path, but it’s still a complicated world out there and people have to self-navigate. We’re seeing more companies popping up to reduce friction and help people get the credentials they need. It’s really exciting as an investor, because it’s messy out there- and innovation thrives on building new structures in the messiness.

Jason Green:

Right, but there’s still an asymmetry of information. The employers hold all the information. Skills based hiring is a more transparent process that’s helping to democratize hiring, but that means employers also have to become more engaged.

Jason Palmer:

Someone recently said that technology jobs are the blue collar jobs of the 21st century, and I agree with the general point. You can become technology literate and get yourself a middle class job much faster than you can get a college degree. All jobs are becoming technology enabled- after all, Uber drivers need to use technology to pick up riders- and tech really is driving almost everything.

Ryan Craig, Managing Director, University Ventures

Particularly for entry level jobs. Whereas a decade ago those might have been more freewheeling and unstructured, today they are much more mediated through software like Salesforce. And that is a talent supply issue that traditional universities haven’t yet caught up to and don’t particularly seem interested in getting involved in.

The real challenge is that most employers have given up on the notion that new college graduates will have experience with that platform and have imposed experience requirements on jobs that used to be entry level. It is a fact that entry level sales reps probably don’t require the four years of the developmental education that college requires.

Mission U is a one year bachelor’s alternative. It’s the first degree that’s explicit about being a replacement degree. There is no tuition. It’s an income share agreement– 15% of your income for the first three years of work. A good number of their first cohort were enrolled in elite universities and left after their first year to enroll in Mission U.

A decade ago, you’d get a lot of reasons for why students enrolled in college. It used to be about half were focused on getting a job afterward. Now it’s north of 90%. They’re very focused on that first job and faster and more efficient pathways to that first job are going to see enormous growth in the next few years.

None of us want less education in aggregate or per capita. What’s important is that colleges and universities develop very clear secondary and tertiary pathways. It can’t just be about the four-year or two-year degree.

Jason Green:

We have to acknowledge that people engage in skill development in places that are outside traditional educational institutions and we have to find a way to quantify that skill attainment, regardless of where or how those skills were learned.

Ryan Craig:

The real question is which colleges and universities will be able to make that leap away from the four year bundle to a faster and less expensive pathway. The key to that change is the connection to the employer. Any college can change their curriculum, but where I’m struggling is with the question of employer connectivity. If you see the level of connectivity that many of these last-mile intermediaries offer, at a minimum they’re getting direct input from employers, which is anathema to traditional faculty. Some are co-locating, some intermediaries are hiring the student directly and not charging any tuition. I think lots of colleges will try to do it but I don’t know how many will be successful.

Jason Green:

Workforce development is no longer limited to job training programs. All programs are going to have to be more accountable and engaged with industry. Providing a relevant curriculum will lead to having engaged learners, better persistence, completion and, importantly, attainment of the skills needed for employment.

2. What are the biggest challenges facing employers in hiring?

Jason Green:

Employers are starting to deal with their over-reliance on technologies they no longer have confidence in- job descriptions and resumes. Job descriptions haven’t changed all that much in hundreds of years, even as work has. And resumes are a limited two-dimensional view of a three-dimensional person who may or may not be a fit for jobs that are increasingly four or five or six dimensional. We’ve used degrees as proxies for skills, but we’re getting to a point where that’s no longer satisfying our talent identification needs.

Ryan Craig:

[University Ventures] spends as much time with employers as we do with higher ed. The top of the funnel is broken, specifically at the intake. Filtering overweights technical skills because those are easy to identify, but jobs are more than technical skills.

Jason Green:

Absolutely. The current system is based on a crude filter.

The ease of the application process is actually becoming a hindrance to identifying a qualified candidate. These technologies have created a situation where we are getting 100 applications for every job posting.

One of the biggest shifts that we’re going to have to make is in the psyche of human resource professionals. They’ve held on to a volume mindset as a metric of success, but the problem is not about getting more applications, it’s about finding the right person for the job.

Ryan Craig:

We’re starting to see the emergence around the world of microassessments assessing cognitive skills that are given at the outset of the hiring process which will then determine whose applications are seen by a hiring manager. These are proliferating everywhere but the US because of an adverse regulatory environment fostered by the EEOC.

If you actually do shift from the current pedigree and degree based hiring to microassessment as your first filter, you increase diversity a lot. The problem here is that EEOC accepts on face value degree based hiring, which is actually replicating inequality, and focuses all of their enforcement activities on assessments. Instead, employers should be measured based on their hiring outcomes, and given safe harbors to experiment.

Jason Palmer:

Smaller and medium sized companies are already ignoring the rules.

Qualified is being used to qualify coders by proving you can solve coding challenges. They’re working with Andela to place sub-Saharan Africans as remote coders, as well as hundreds of American companies. Lots of people without college or even high school are training up and demonstrating that they can do these jobs.

Ryan Craig:

70% of micro-assessment usage is for clients outside the US. In a world where we are very focused on making sure US employers don’t offshore jobs, not having access to hiring tools like this is a very strong incentive to not hire American. If we could unlock this barrier, we could give millions of low income Americans meritocratic access to these jobs.

It is so important to look to other markets, like the UK. Apprenticeships, competency based hiring have almost become government policy to encourage shorter pathways to jobs.

We want American employers to invest in American workers. Revature is running free coding bootcamps. They offer guaranteed jobs, staff their students out for two years. Students often then get hired by the companies themselves, making this their first and second job.

Jason Palmer:

We’re seeing pretty serious traction in middle and even elementary school with the teaching of computer science and technology and coding. Computer science courses now count toward graduation in 23 states. There are companies offering full-course solutions in elementary schools. Rhode Island and Washington state are leaders pushing this envelope. These companies do extensive professional development with math, science, and music teachers to train them how to teach computer science. They initially looked for just math and science teachers, but now 10 – 20% of the teachers they work with are from the art and music domains.

3. What are the biggest challenges facing job training programs and the workforce development sector?

Ryan Craig:

It’s a different universe. I agree with Secretary DeVos- simply making small changes to the Higher Education Act (HEA) is not the way to go. We need to rethink our higher education system in order to solve a problem- how do we take students from the point they finish K-12 and move them into a good job in the growing economy? We have balkanized our system of higher education and put up on a pedestal one pathway– the degree. All of these systems would do better to work together in a more coordinated way.

We’re looking at a separate Department of Labor pool of money that is separate from the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) funds that is disconnected from the apprenticeship process. We need an integrated system that offers a much greater diversity of pathways to a good job.

Jason Green:

We certainly need a different kind of thinking- and that starts with letting go of old filters. At SkillSmart we have developed an alternative means for evaluation based on the lived and learned skills which allows employers and workforce agencies to relax their grip on traditional resume based evaluation.

Jason Palmer:

Employers need to adapt. If employers can find people who’ve held a job for two years, but don’t have a college degree, they’re worth hiring and they can be trained up with the the specialized skills they need. Small companies are popping up to onboard and run internship and apprenticeship programs.

Ryan Craig:

I agree with Peter Cappelli – employers want the perfect candidate and aren’t going to sully their hands with training. The market is coming up with solutions– we’re seeing the emergence of small private lenders who are lending on what you’re likely to earn in the future, so-called income share agreement models. This significantly reduces the risk for the students. We’re also seeing innovations in staffing models- a try before you buy kind of approach, which reduces risk for students and employers.

Jason Green:

We hear from a lot of employers who are willing to go along with the status quo even though it isn’t meeting their needs because they don’t want to take the risk of trying something new. Those of us who can see the bigger problem need to do a better job of articulating what inaction looks like, because there is a real cost to not changing the way we’re hiring and training and educating.

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: SkillSmart Selected for Village Capital’s Education: US 2017 Program

SkillSmart has been selected to participate in Village Capital’s Education: US 2017 program focused on helping higher education providers, private companies and other initiatives invested in workforce development initiatives.

According to a 2013 Gallup report, only 11% of employers think that graduating students have skills that fit their needs, and studies find that up to 96% of employers are unhappy with their labor pools and new hires. Comparatively, job seekers and employees want to build the right skills for the job, but struggle to identify the skills they already have, where to go to fill in the gaps with the ones they need and how to prove mastery to employers.

Village Capital and Lumina Foundation, along with an ecosystem of partners, will support each Education: US 2017 participant by:

– Supporting and investing through its collaborative venture development program
– Facilitating partnerships between startups and strategic partners
– Providing analytics, financial and technology resources

Companies selected as Education: US 2017 cohorts are focused on career skills building and validation, or intend to expand their services to fill those gaps, specifically companies that:

– Bridge the gap on credentialing and skills-based learning for students in higher education and adult education
– Focus on rethinking credentials and qualifications in order to better match careers and build skills
– Provide innovative solutions to skills and training for workers in order to help them get their first job, move up in their career, or start a second career

For further information, read more from Village Capital or contact Jason Green at 240-498-4492 or jgreen@skillsmart.us.

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About SkillSmart
SkillSmart is a skills-based, tech-enabled platform that helps growing organizations and industries find the talent they need by matching job seekers to employment opportunities based on skills and abilities. To accomplish this, SkillSmart partners with companies from a variety of industries and provides access to their proprietary technology to allow them to search and filter through a pipeline of qualified candidates. SkillSmart’s mission is to end the skills gap that employers face in filling various roles. 
Learn More