Dec 9, 2020 - Economy

3. The next big thing in education: accessible job-training solutions

Woman watches and listens to a lesson online.

Employers need to rethink credentialing for the in-demand jobs of today.

  • Traditional degrees may not be the answer for everyone.

The idea: With four-year degrees out of reach for so many, the traditional definition of “higher education” needs to be expanded to include technical training, two-year degrees, and certificate programs that have been designed to help fill the roles in fields with the most openings.

Why it’s important: The way we work has changed, fast. For millions of Americans, especially those without a college degree, this shift has made it difficult to land a good job.

  • Key numbers: According to Beth Cobert, COO at the Markle Foundation, nearly 70% of working Americans lack a four-year college degree, which means they are overlooked for many job opportunities, and that makes it tough for these workers to secure jobs in a changing economy.

A solution: Scaling or forming more partnerships among employers, governments, nonprofits and higher education institutions.

  • These partnerships offer alternative pathways to good-paying, high-growth jobs.
  • One way how: by helping workers land new jobs after learning digital skills online, as with Google’s free Applied Digital Skills that teaches digital basics and its certificate in IT Support.

What Google is saying:

“We think that we can help our economy recover quicker by expanding access to digital skills and technologies that Americans need,” said Dunckelman.

  • So far, the company has donated $50 million to support the nonprofits preparing people for the future of work.

The takeaway: Together, employers, governments, and nonprofits have the power to expand opportunity for low-wage workers.

  • “We need to create real opportunities for people... And we think that takes collaboration across a broad range of stakeholders,” said Beth Cobert, COO at the Markle Foundation.
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