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Where Talent Meets Career Opportunity

Last week, Penn Foster traveled to Las Vegas to attend and exhibit at the 2017 CECU Convention. This conference has become an annual voyage for the Penn Foster team. The insights we extract from conversations with partners, colleagues and industry leaders are an invaluable tool we deploy to help us better improve on our education solutions. CECU provides us with actionable ideas for how we can better serve the needs of technical and career colleges.
Earlier this week, President Trump announced his intention to expand apprenticeship programs as the cornerstone of his labor policy.1 He clearly sees apprenticeship as a skills gap solution " and not just a way to hire an assistant in front of a national audience.
As the American economy has taken on a service-oriented identify over the last couple decades, the job market has become an ultra-competitive arena. Workers today are expected to possess a higher level of skill than at any time in history. Knowledge and skill have become priceless commodities businesses seek out and deploy to gain a competitive advantage. The companies with the most adept employees are the ones leading the way in their market.
In 2016, the e-learning marketing was worth $166.5 billion; it is now estimated to grow to be worth $225 billion in 2017.1 With such rapid and colossal growth in the industry over the past decade, it is unsurprising that online learning has permeated almost all other industries, including those historically requiring more on-the-job training and hands-on work. However, as industries like manufacturing and utilities become increasingly high-tech and modernize their processes, so too do the learning approaches used by workers in these fields. 90% of academic leaders believe that by 2019, the majority of all college students will be taking at least one online course.2 As e-learning continues to expand, businesses in the skilled trades must innovate to incorporate this learning approach into their training programs.
The ASU GSV Summit always acts as a great set of meteorological instruments used to measure trends across the edtech sector. It gauges hot and cold like a thermometer and which direction the wind is blowing like an anemometer. This year's conference showed that the tectonic plates of edtech have shifted...seismically.
It's no secret that the retail industry suffers from high turnover - with a median turnover rate of 67% for part-time employees.1 This presents many challenges for retailers, chief among them the ability to ensure a consistently and thoroughly training workforce. One position, in particular, that is critical to train and yet often gets overlooked is that of retail supervisor, employees responsible for overseeing store associates either within a department or across an entire store.
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Dark, dirty, and dangerous. While the manufacturing industry has evolved dramatically over the last few decades, many Americans might still use these terms to describe a factory today. In fact, skilled trades industries across the board still suffer from the perception gap that the occupations in their fields involve dirty and low-level work, without much opportunity for career growth. In the second installment of our apprenticeship series, we will provide an overview of the perception gap in manufacturing in the U.S., why it is such a significant issue, and ways businesses can address the gap.
Last week, we were honored and thrilled to have participated in this year's at-capacity ASU + GSV Education Technology Summit which assembled leaders from more than 400 of the world's most important enterprise learning and talent companies to discuss education and technology innovations. It was inspiring to join the conversation on how we can build bridges between local and national organizations in order to address the skills shortage and improve worker employability and workforce effectiveness. I wanted to share my top takeaways from this incredibly energizing summit:
Has your business been struggling to find and hire candidates with the appropriate soft skills? If so, it is not alone. A recent study found that 44 percent of employers believe that today's job candidates are lacking the necessary soft skills to be successful on the job.1
Yesterday at the ASU GSV Summit in Salt Lake City UT, Penn Foster announced our exciting new collaboration with Roadtrip Nation, an organization that empowers individuals to pursue fulfilling careers, and Strada Education Network, a nonprofit dedicated to solving today's higher education and workforce challenges, on our Skills Forward Roadtrip! The Roadtrip will aim to engage and inspire America's next generation workforce while addressing the issue of the skills shortage for high demand skilled trades occupations.

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