At SXSW EDU, Penn Foster to Tackle the Skills Gap and Talent Development

Posted by Penn Foster on March 5, 2019

When engaged stakeholders gather to discuss the future of teaching and learning, Penn Foster is naturally right in the middle of things. We'll be sharing what we know, learning from other industry leaders, and contributing to two programs at this year's SXSW EDU conference in Austin, TX.

Marckus Perez will join the panel for Unstuck in the Middle: Closing the Skills Gap. Perez knows the skills gap first-hand. As an employee at men's clothing store, DXL, he thought he knew what he needed to advance his job. Then he enrolled in Penn Foster's Career Readiness Bootcamp. He quickly built new skills he hadn't even known he needed. Within a month of completing the course he was promoted to assistant manager.

Like many students, once he got a taste of what education could do for his career and his life, Perez wasn't content to just complete one course. He enrolled in the Forestry and Wildlife Conservation course. He also became a student ambassador for Penn Foster.

Perez is  real-life example of how filling a skills gap can help improve results for middle skills employers. With Perez helping to lead, the store has seen an overall rise in revenues and sales numbers. His perspective on the skills gap is an optimistic one. His employer gave him the opportunity to succeed, and other employers can do the same.

Perez will be joined on the panel by Ivey Love of New America, Erica Pandey of Axios, and Christine Mikulski of Guild Education. Guild works with Penn Foster and other organizations to help Fortune 1000 companies offer education as a benefit to their employees. Together they'll explore the many innovative strategies that leaders and thinkers are using to close the skills gap for middle-skills jobs.

On March 7, Marie Davis, Director of National Employer Partnerships at Penn Foster will speak at the Talent Development Strategies for Social Impact Summit. She'll be joined by Google's Head of Economic Opportunity, Andrew Dunckleman, Jobs for the Future's Chief of Staff David Soo, and Director of the JetBlue Scholars Program Kristy VanAlstyne.

With their unique perspectives on talent development, they'll discuss how corporations can and are playing a central role in lifelong learning by employees. This frank discussion will include insight into how leading companies set strategy, fund educational opportunities, and coordinate with partners while using cutting edge technology.

SXSW EDU fosters innovation in learning by hosting thinkers, leaders, and change makers in the the education space. The ninth annual conference and festival will include workshops, learning experiences, film screenings and plenty of opportunities to meet and mingle with forward-thinking, purpose-driven leaders.

If you're interested in becoming part of the solution for middle skills workers and employers, register for the SXSW EDU conference today! Can't make it to the conference? Keep your eye on this blog for recap posts following the event.

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