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Where Talent Meets Career Opportunity

At YouthBuild's 12th Annual Instructor Leadership Institute earlier this month, we announced YouthBuild graduates Kevin Wilson and Elijah Childs as the first recipients of the Dorothy Stoneman Scholarship. The scholarship fund, named in honor of YouthBuild Founder and long-time CEO, Dorothy Stoneman, who retired in January 2017, was created to help deserving YouthBuild and Penn Foster High School graduates continue their education in an associate or bachelor's degree program at Penn Foster College.
While the skills gap in the skilled trades industries is no secret, awareness of the talent shortage has primarily grown in the past few years. According to a study by Deloitte and the Manufacturing Institute, 3.5 million manufacturing jobs are expected to become available (and need to be filled) yet 2 million of these jobs are expected to go unfilled.1 However, not all businesses are taken aback by the widening skills gap, and some began preparing for the inevitable shortage years before national headlines began highlighting it.
As technology and an increasingly global economy and workforce continue to disrupt traditional work and higher education models, career and technical education (CTE) can offer high school and colleges students a comprehensive set of skills and experiences designed to give them a leg up after graduation.
The post-secondary education market is an increasingly crowded and competitive space. With prospective students having more options now than ever before to consider, what can colleges do to standout? Here are three simple tactics that career colleges can use to not only increase the number of inquiries and enrollments, but to attract students who will persist and thrive at their institution, and beyond.
In last week's post, we looked how employers value soft skills in the workplace. This week, we turn our attention to the "supply side" of the equation as we look at how training organizations value soft skills. By surveying leaders at career colleges, high schools, and youth organizations such as YouthBuild and Job Corps, we are able to get a better sense of how important these organizations see these skills, and what type of training they are currently offer to prepare their learners for the workplace.
It's no secret that soft skills have become increasingly important in the workplace, and yet many businesses are struggling to find candidates possessing these skills.This is particularly true in the service industry, an area notoriously plagued with high turnover.
Career colleges, workforce investment boards, and youth organizations all share a similar goal: to provide their learners and clients with skills that will ultimately get them a job and put them on a pathway towards a long-term, sustainable career. To that end, these organizations have to consider both the short term market demand, as well as the long term career outlook for various positions and career paths. Additionally, they must look at all the primary and auxiliary skills that may be necessary in a given profession or career path, when developing their curriculum. While the primary or career-focused skills take precedence, including auxiliary skills, especially business and entrepreneurial skills, can lead to improved long-term outcomes for learners and organizations alike.
In 1937, the groundwork for the registered apprenticeship system was set by the Fitzgerald Act, which officially established the national apprenticeship system and empowered state agencies to register and administer apprenticeship programs. To this day, there are over 21,000 registered apprenticeship programs across the nation and over 500,000 apprentices working in those programs.1 With significant federal support being directed toward the apprenticeship system from the new administration, we see little signs of these workforce development programs slowing down. In his recent executive order, the president doubled the amount of money allocated for apprenticeship grants to $200 million a year.2
While we often hear about apprentice programs in the skilled trades industries like construction and manufacturing, apprenticeships exist in over 1,000 occupations across the U.S., including Healthcare, Information Technology, and Energy.1 As a proven solution for employers to recruit, train and retain a skilled workforce, apprenticeship programs continue to receive significant support from the federal government. In fact, the Labor Department is pushing to expand apprenticeships into a wider range of fields, including retail, policing, and more.

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