Apr 25, 2024 - Axios Events

Axios Event: We need to better support students and employees for a changing workforce

Attendees enjoyed dinner during the discussion. Credit: Kris Tripplaar for Axios

Attendees enjoyed dinner during the discussion. Credit: Kris Tripplaar for Axios

WASHINGTON, D.C. – While many employers move away from the college degree as a job requirement, more needs to be done to prepare students and workers for new jobs through alternative options like skilling programs and training opportunities.

Why it matters: One of the biggest issues, experts said at an Axios Expert Voices event moderated by co-founder Mike Allen and senior reporter Erica Pandey, is that students often aren't fully aware of the breadth of opportunities available to them.

This event was sponsored by Walmart.

What they're saying: Attendees doubled down on the need to make students more aware of the skilling opportunities available to them, as well as help them track the credentials they've already acquired.

"We're on the cusp of a tsunami of jobs, and we want to make sure that students have the understanding of what it takes to be able to fulfill those and be globally competitive," Department of Education deputy chief of staff for strategic communications and partnerships LaWanda Toney said.

There are over one million unique credentials in the U.S. alone for people to earn in the U.S., according to Scott Cheney, CEO of Credential Engine. Cheney aims to make a repository for students to track and manage their credentials.

  • "What we do is we're trying to make it as easy for someone to be able to navigate their way through all of these opportunities as it is to pick up your phone and book your next vacation on Expedia or Travelocity," Cheney said.

What's next: National Skills Coalition CEO Robert Espinoza cited research from his firm looking at the high number of new jobs recently created from historic federal investments in the infrastructure and clean energy manufacturing sectors. Espinoza cited a need to level up training and education programs to fill those new jobs.

  • "What the research found is that a large percentage of those jobs don't require a bachelor's degree, and yet the training and education system that is required to fill those jobs isn't necessarily there," Espinoza said.
Go deeper