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Where Talent Meets Career Opportunity

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.
As we continue to look at industries with fast growing careers, another that jumps out with no shortage of jobs is the veterinary services industry. In 2016, U.S. pet industry spending was over $66 billion dollars, a number that is expected to grow by an additional 4% is 2017.1 This number included over $16 billion spent annually on vet care. There are many positions within the veterinary services industry that can provide attractive career paths for youth organizations, workforce investment boards, and nonprofits to place their learners. One position in particular that has proven a good fit for entry-level employment is Veterinary Assistant - which is expected to grow by 9% within the next decade.2
When a company identifies the need to fill a job role or particular skill set, what is the first instinct of management? More often than not, employers gravitate toward recruiting the talent they need through hiring sites like Monster, Indeed, and more. However, what if the talent is simply not available? Many employers in manufacturing and construction are finding themselves in this exact position due to the skills gap in the skilled trades industries. A 2016 Department of Commerce (DOC) report notes that many firms often require employees to have a high level of company-specific knowledge that often cannot be found in the labor market.1 When positions are continually left open, employers must deal with the consequences of delivering products late or turning down work altogether.
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Last weekend, I had the privilege and honor to be a guest judge for the Open Track of the President's Innovation Challenge at the Harvard Innovation Labs. The Innovation Challenge aims to support Harvard students on their journeys to turn their desire for abetter world into a sustainable venture. Specifically, this year's finalists are trying to solve social issues (equitability, sustainability, safety), to respond to the desperate need for innovation within the health and life sciences industry, and to innovate in other areas thatwould help a cross section of industries such as computing.
In today's competitive job market it's nearly impossible to find a job without a postsecondary credential or degree. For example, there have been 11.6 million jobs created since the 2008 economic recession, and an overwhelming majority of these jobs " 11.5 million " have gone to workers with at least some postsecondary education.1
The unemployment rate for youth and young adults, ages 16-to-24-years-old, is double that of the national unemployment rate. This high level of unemployed or underemployed youth is an epidemic that is affecting an entire generation. This is not the only problem affecting the job market. Employers are having a hard time finding the right candidates to fill their positions. The Rockefeller Foundation Study, "The State of Entry-Level Employment in the U.S.," shows that 43 percent of employers consider sourcing candidates as one of their biggest challenges.
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The perception of online education is changing. Seen for many years as the poor relation of brick-and-mortar institutions, online education is rapidly gaining respect. According to the 2013 Survey of Online Learning, perceptions of online education dramatically changed during the previous decade. Indeed, the proportion of academic leaders rating online courses as offering the same or superior learning outcomes as face-to-face tuition has now risen from 57 percent to 74 percent.

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