Updated Apr 19, 2023 - Axios Events

Watch: A conversation on skills-based hiring

On Wednesday, April 19, Axios co-founder Mike Allen and business reporter Erica Pandey led conversations exploring the shift toward skills-based hiring. Guests included U.S. Department of Education Secretary Miguel Cardona, Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-N.C.), and Maryland Governor Wes Moore (D-Md.). A View from the Top sponsored segment featured LinkedIn SVP and general counsel Blake Lawit.

Secretary Miguel Cardona shared why he wants to improve students’ knowledge of their options after high school, from vocational education to skilling programs.

  • On providing students with options: “If anything we want to say in high school, you’re going to have options. You could do a paid internship, learning a skill, get a credential, choose to join the workforce, choose to go to a two-year school to hone those skills or maybe get a two-year degree on that, or choose to go to a four-year school and get an advanced degree in that. But there should be a pathway with ladders, with a ladder of upward mobility for these students, and options. At the end of the day, they need options.”

Rep. Virginia Foxx discussed how even though most people in the U.S. don’t have baccalaureate degrees, there has been a long-time societal emphasis on their perceived role in achieving success.

  • On the college degree barrier to work: “We have gone through a long period of time where we have said, ‘oh to be successful you need a baccalaureate degree.’ Now, embedded in what you’re saying, a college degree might be something less than a baccalaureate degree, but we have pushed baccalaureate degrees. Only 30% of the people in this country have baccalaureate degrees, and so the country’s being run by 70% of the people who don’t have baccalaureate degrees. So what’s wrong with this picture?”

Governor Wes Moore explained how pathways to education are intertwined with wealth gaps, economic opportunities and barriers to workforce entry.

  • On creating pathways for work, wages and wealth: “It’s not just about jobs. We also have to address the fact that we have a massive wealth gap inside the United States, that there's no reason for the state of Maryland to be literally per capita, the wealthiest state in the entire country. Yet at the same time, we have an 8 to 1 racial wealth gap. Yet at the same time, we know that for many children that they’re still graduating from high school and they’re not prepared for either higher education nor careers.”
  • On spearheading equity through intentional action: “I think the only way you make things more equitable is you have to be intentional. You don’t accidentally get to equitable, because we didn’t accidentally get to inequitable. It was intentional.”

In the View from the Top segment, Blake Lawit emphasized how focusing on skills rather than degrees expands employment opportunities for many overlooked groups of people while widening the pool for talent.

  • “70% of the jobs listed in the United States require a bachelor’s degree, 37% of the workers have a bachelor’s degree. So there’s a mismatch there. Right off the top, you’re cutting out half of the workforce…you’ve got 70 million people who have skills, right? They have gone to community college, they’ve had military service background, they’ve had workforce development training. But right now they're being overlooked.”

Thank you LinkedIn for sponsoring this event.

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