Today, we’re seeing massive numbers of jobseekers in the market whose livelihoods are at stake.
How do we come together to design a future workforce that provides sustainable, high-earning jobs to anyone who wants one?
“When employers lay people off, they don’t hire those same people back when the economy improves. A lot of that is because the skills change. They take a downturn into new technologies, automation, retool some of their processes. This puts an additional burden on the workforce investment system.”
– Lauren Weber, Journalist, Wall Street Journal
Research shows California’s working-age population—high school graduates, adult learners, and re-entry students—want to earn more money, climb their career ladders, find careers that fit them better, gain more autonomy, and do more meaningful work.
When it comes to professional development and earning family-sustaining wages, Career Education programs are a key resource for learners. Yet, often, they still are under-enrolled and under-discussed when the topic of college comes up.
However, with the current global conditions, we are seeing an opportunity for community colleges and career education providers to step out as the leaders for shaping a sustainable, relevant workforce in their communities.
“The community colleges are the sensors on the ground connecting training and employment. They are the ones closest to the ground and the close-in labor market research. They are fostering relationships with industries as they make the transition from one kind of workforce to another.”
– Ted Mitchell, President, American Council on Education
The challenge is ensuring prospective learners are aware of Career Education programs, gaining the benefits of getting real-world experience, highly transferrable skills, and a sustainable career pathway.
This starts with finding what motivates learners and what they’re passionate about, matching your programs to their interests, and serving them the right message about your program at the right time.
This typically takes time – research, planning, brainstorming, placing ads, measuring effectiveness – and capacity, both of which are scarce during a global pandemic and recession.
“Private sector has to work closely with key stakeholders like the educational institutions to make sure skill sets are identified and aligned with the supply side of the workforce.”
– Nicole Isaac, Senior Director, North American Policy, LinkedIn
With so many students considering taking temporary breaks from their education, there is a very real risk they won’t return. Students who defer their studies may join the ranks of the 36 million Americans with some college but no degree.
The experiences learners expect from their time at a 4-year college, particularly those related to campus life and athletics, are creating a reckoning like never before for the university system.
Career Education has an opportunity to connect with these learners in new ways. Offering direct-to-career, micro-credentialing, and certificate programs, institutions can connect learners with workforce-feeding alternatives to risky gap years or “taking a break” decisions.