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


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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SkillSmart Streamlines and Improves the Effectiveness and Experience of Hiring

SkillSmart is twice as effective at identifying qualified talent for hire than its online counterparts. Watch why SkillSmart has been successful helping brands across the country like MGM Casino & Resorts, Milwaukee Bucks Arena, Purple Line Transit Partners, and others with their large-scale hiring efforts.

“At no point along the way do we want the job seeker to say ‘I don’t have that,'” says Mike Knapp, CEO and Founder of SkillSmart. “We want them to see ‘I don’t have that, but here’s the next step.’ And so we try to continue to link them.”

More, SkillSmart helps community training and education programs tailor their courses to teach the skills employers need. Doing so significantly increased targeted enrollment and resulted in greater outcome of people getting hired upon completion in one recent hiring effort in the DC Region.

SkillSmart streamlines the talent recruitment and hiring by focusing on the skills needed, improving the effectiveness and experience by both employers and job seekers.

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Do you really need a 4-year degree for an entry level job?


One of the ongoing themes of these weekly blogs is the fact that the current college system is broken.

This system not only limits those who chose not to attend a university, but also a significant portion of those who graduate. The fact that employers tend to favor college graduates over those who did not attend university has not only saddled a large segment of the population with debt, but has also caused businesses to overlook many skilled employees.

There have been countless case studies and surveys conducted which have shown that in many cases graduating college alone does not properly prepare an individual to complete tasks at their job. There is no significant difference between the skills of someone who graduates from a university and a high school graduate in entry level positions.

Within the Bloomberg article “Do You Really Need a College Degree for That Entry-Level Job?” Peter Coy compares the job experiences of college graduates to high school graduates.

Because employers tend to respect candidates with college degrees more, graduates have an easier time receiving a position that high school graduates. However, 49% of recent college graduates indicated that they “didn’t have to go to college to acquire the skills they needed for their current jobs.”

This data might cause one to reconsider the college process altogether. If college does not prepare a young adult for an entry level position, then why are they placed at a premium?

The article’s second case study further proves that a college diploma may be overvalued. A new research algorithm (funded by the Rockefeller Foundation which was created to test employee skills) indicated that 83% of high school graduates without college experience performed at a level comparable with the average entry level employee at various businesses.

While we can all agree that there are several benefits to attending university, perhaps it is time for us to stop placing so much importance on it.

What do you think?

Read the Article  Share Your Thoughts



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Empowering You to Find a Job Doesn’t Sacrifice Your Happiness


The Smart Talk weekly blog posts and online job seeker articles are atypical from the common job advice you might receive from your parents in the past. Perhaps this reflects the changing mindset of the modern job seeker.

In the past, jobs were seen as a career, so you have to work hard to impress future employers knowing that this business could probably be your place of employment for life. However, the combination of distrust of big business, and the importance of happiness at your workplace has led to a new modern mindset.

Twenty years ago you may have gone into a job interview looking at the experience as a one-way relationship, now the you’re more likely to observe how you are being treated within the interview process.

While bill collectors wait for no one, and some still view the job interviewer as the party with all the power, a growing segment of the younger generation looks at employment as a mutual relationship: I provide a much needed skill, you provide me with respect and happiness.

Therefore when you read our weekly blog posts, we want you to read about more than just techniques to please your interviewer, or the right words to say during an interview. Here, you’ll find employee empowerment pieces. You will read about signs you should look for during an interview process, and what you should gather from them.

The current generation changes positions at a faster rate than previous generations, and if some continue to rush into positions specifically for a paycheck this trend will only continue.

So keep following us, and stay tuned for more tips and guidance on how you can prepare for a job that meets your budgetary requirements as well as your happiness ones.

Do you have any suggestions our other readers can benefit from?

Share Your Experience



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Don’t Discard that Liberal Arts Degree


Students majoring in Liberal Arts fields are often undervalued. Relatively speaking, these degrees do not carry the same weight as medical or engineering degrees.

In an uncertain job market some look at these graduates as individuals who do not possess a certain skill to do a particular task. These are not graduates who can do an open heart surgery or write code for a Fortune 500 company, therefore finding a job after graduation for these students can be rather problematic.

According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers “only 32.6 percent of philosophy majors in the class of 2015 secured full-time employment by January 2016, compared to 65.7 percent of business majors” within the same timeframe.

However, this mindset may be on the precipice of change. Recently, Forbes contributor Renee Morad wrote an article titled “Why Mark Cuban Believes Liberal Arts Is The Future Of Jobs” in which the Dallas Mavericks owner is quoted explaining why Liberal Arts majors may be in demand in the near future.

Cuban theorizes that as technology advances some skills may become redundant. Cuban believes that society will give machines more of the tasks which we attend college for today.

This change will cause freethinkers to play a more integral role in the workforce.

Commonly overlooked skills such as communication, foresight, and critical thinking will be needed because these are skills which machines can not possess. This information would be welcomed by colleges, who in recent times have attempted to add more skills based courses to their Liberal Arts curriculums in order to secure more job prospects for their students.

What are your thoughts? Does this make you re-think your liberal arts choice, or reinforce that you made the right one?

Read the Article Share Your Experience



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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: SkillSmart Announces Partnership with The Pierite Group; New, Unique Workforce Solutions Coming to Indian Country

Image Credit: The Pierite Group

SkillSmart, a for-purpose technology company with a skills-matching platform, announced a partnership at the National Reservation Economic Summit with The Pierite Group, a strategic economic development tribal advisor, to deliver workforce solutions to Indian Country with the overall goal of overcoming significant barriers to meaningful employment.

The native employment rate is nearly 14% lower than the national average. High school graduation rates are among the lowest in the nation, and the odds of Native Americans being employed are 31% lower than whites. Using the SkillSmart platform for skills-based training and hiring, combined with the economic development expertise of The Pierite Group, can help to reverse these declining employment statistics.

“This partnership is important to implement our mission of mobilizing community resources for major economic impact across the country. Marshall Pierite, CEO of The Pierite Group, along with his team, have demonstrated their commitment to diverse economic strategies to rejuvenate tribes. With SkillSmart’s success at increasing employment outcomes and retention, this unique partnership will create a workforce solution in Indian Country. Key deliverables will include meeting the specific needs of Tribes, expanding on skill levels of tribal members, and allowing for Tribal Councils to diversify through economic development,” said Jason Green, SkillSmart SVP Business Development. These initiatives will serve as valuable resources to expand economic development beyond gaming.

The Pierite Group was founded by CEO Marshall Pierite with the express goal of providing guidance to businesses, Tribal governments, local governments, and non-profit entities in their pursuit of financial independence. “We are excited to join forces with SkillSmart to create workforce opportunities for Native Americans. This partnership will allow us to identify individual job skills to match with potential employers, with the goal of aiding economic diversity across Indian Country,” said Marshall Pierite.

The Pierite Group offers access to a broad range of professional resources and provides the necessary tools and expertise to ensure long-term success and sustainability. Located in Central Louisiana, the TPG’s philosophy is to build locally, while thinking globally.

Founded by Jason Green and Mike Knapp, SkillSmart is a tech-enabled, skills-based platform that helps growing organizations and industries find and develop the talent they need by matching job seekers to employment opportunities based on skills and abilities. SkillSmart creates a pipeline of qualified workers and helps prospective employees gain the skills they need.

Recognizing the challenge that many employers face when seeking qualified and skilled talent, the SkillSmart platform directly connects the three key stakeholders of today’s workforce via employers, job seekers and educators; thus, creating transparency in the talent acquisition process and enabling job seekers to better understand the various cybersecurity opportunities and pathways. In return, employers can identify a stronger pool of candidates.

Current partners leveraging the SkillSmart platform include MGM National Harbor, MGM Springfield, the Milwaukee Bucks, Anne Arundel Workforce Development Corp., Springfield Public Schools in Springfield, MA, and the Chesapeake Regional Tech Council, in addition to others.

For further information about SkillSmart, please visit or contact Jason Green at 240-498-4492 or


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. 
About The Pierite Group
Established in 2015 in Marksville, LA., The Pierite Group specializes in advisory and strategic consulting, project management, governmental and political relationship building, organizational and structural development, and community outreach.
The Pierite Group is Native American owned and operated by CEO and founder, Marshall Pierite. With more than 30 years of governmental experience in Indian Country in public and private sectors, TPG is committed to providing its clients the necessary resources to achieve financial and socioeconomic independence through economic development.
For more information about The Pierite Group, please visit
319 Center St, Marksville, LA 71355, 318-597-8981. 
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Position Yourself for the Job You Want

As job seekers we have all experienced this feeling before, you see an attractive opportunity but your previous work experience does not match up with anything needed for the position.

So, you end up doubting yourself, and ultimately do not pursue the position of interest.

During the question answer session titled “I’m Qualified For The Job — Just Not On Paper” Forbes contributor Liz Ryan explains how to apply for a position which you not seem – to the naked eye – qualified for.

First, Ryan asks her readers to do some research. If you can figure out who’s in charge of hiring the staff, you can connect with them directly. Next, you must brainstorm challenges that the prospective employer may have and is attempting to solve by hiring new staff.

Researching these points can be done by examining the company’s LinkedIn page or latest press releases. After you identify these issues, you must use your prior working experience to show how you have experienced similar issues at your last position in order to prove your worth to the new recruiter.

The personal experience does not have to be exactly the same, but must show that you used the same skills or thought process to solve the issue as you would use to solve the new company’s problems as well.

Then create a human voiced (first-person) resume, put your thoughts and research together within the form of a pain letter and submit both the letter and resume to the employer.

While you may not receive this particular position, the research conducted and thoughts compiled will only help you draft an even better letter the next time you see a position you want to pursue.

These are all growing pains on the road to achieving a new position of interest.

Here’s to finding a job that makes you happy!

Read the Article Share Your Experience



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Is it ever okay to leave an interview abruptly?


As job seekers, we are sometimes too eager to settle for any position. This mindset can be destructive to future success and happiness. Usually before we accept an opportunity there are several signs that this position might not be the right fit, but we choose to ignore it.

A huge indicator may be how the interview process goes. While a positive interview process does not guarantee a positive future work experience, a negative interview process can be a tell tale sign for a negative working environment. So the question is “Why do individuals normalize, and stick through a negative interview experience?”

During Liz Ryan’s latest article “Ten Reasons To Get Up And Leave A Job Interview,” Ryan theorizes about this question, and provides her audience with several reasons that would justify leaving an interview.

Ryan’s basic premise is that individuals simply do not know how to remove themselves from a negative interview. Therefore, Ryan informs the job seeker that it is not disrespectful to simply excuse yourself from an interview if it is not what you expect. Ryan also states that if you do not feel comfortable abruptly leaving an interview, you can call the office, or send an email shortly after declining consideration for the position.

Ryan’s article explains more than how to end a negative interview, the article is multilayered. Ryan provides job seekers with several acceptable reasons to leave an interview prematurely.

While these reasons include everything from aesthetics to safety, most of her talking points revolve around a lack of respect exhibited by some interviewers.

If an employer continuously questions the legitimacy of your resume, perhaps this is not the best working environment. This can be a sign that you are not being taken seriously, and possibly will not be treated with respect.

If your interviewer arrives late, disorganized, or ill prepared, this may not be the best place to work. This behavior may be a microcosm the company’s overall shortcomings.

Remember it is better to pass on a bad opportunity and allocate your time looking for a better fit than to settle for the position at hand then find yourself leaving it shortly after.

Here’s to finding a job that makes you happy!

Read the Article Share Your Experience



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Choose Happiness Over Money in Your Job Search

My first full-time job during high school was interning with the USDA. Students were guaranteed a position for at least the summer, and our productivity determined whether we would be kept on any longer.

I was stationed in the IT department which luckily allowed me the privilege of not having to be stationary for 40 hours a week. However the dim lights, older coworkers, and tedious work made everyday a struggle. In fact, if I did not make friends with the other interns I probably would have quit early.

I managed to make it through the summer and work a couple extra months, but when my partner informed me that she was moving to go to college, it was all the incentive I needed to move on from that position.

Sometimes I wonder if I should have stayed in that position, especially since one of my fellow interns stayed for 7 years, and enjoyed all the benefits of working for the government. However, Jules Schroeder’s article “Millennials, Don’t Make This Mistake When Applying For A Job” helps me tolerate my decision by explaining her first experience in an office setting.

Schroeder’s first full-time job experience was very similar to mine, however without having other young people on the staff she ended up quitting within two weeks. Schroeder is essentially explaining to the reader that you must seek out a job that you can be happy at, not one that is tied to financial success.

Studies have shown that our overall happiness is tied to the happiness we have at our jobs, therefore we should look for a position that brings us the most joy possible.

Here’s to finding a job that makes you happy!

Read the Article Share Your Experience

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It’s All About Jobs, But it Has to be About Skills First

skills training

Businesses, communities and people are excited by the potential opportunities that an increased focus on infrastructure and manufacturing will have on local communities and across the nation.

At first glance a renewed focus on these areas is great news, and then articles and research start to appear like this recent Bloomberg Markets report that “Four-fifths of executives surveyed said that a shortage of sufficiently skilled workers will affect their companies in the next 12 months.” Which is followed up by “Complaints of hard-to-fill factory jobs are backed up by Bureau of Labor Statistics data: 324,000 manufacturing spots were open in November, up from 238,000 a year earlier.”

So what will keep us from actually increasing manufacturing and constructing new infrastructure? The lack of skilled workers.

Fortunately, this is a solvable problem.  SkillSmart’s focus on skills development and skills based hiring helps directly address this issue with a scalable solution.  We work with employers to identify the skills they need which helps job seekers better understand the skills they need to be qualified or considered for hiring.  Then, we show them where they acquire these skills through local education and training resources.

In fact, we have seen a more than 2 to 1 increase in successful hiring outcomes with our clients who use the SkillSmart platform and a 21% increase in the rate of retention.

The impact of skills in the workplace is real and can have both positive and negative results.  Lack of skills can hinder success, but we have shown that skills based hiring achieves real, sustainable and positive outcomes to help construction, manufacturing and other important industry sectors grow.  This focus on skills is critical to driving the desired growth in our economy, communities and people.

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