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Where Talent Meets Career Opportunity

Today's students may be more stressed than ever before. In fact, the 2015 American College Health Association National College Health Assessment found that 85.6 percent of students had felt overwhelmed in the past year.1 The pressures of getting top grades, balancing extracurricular activities with studying, and spending time with family all add up. In addition, students manage another identity in the digital world. Social media platforms are one more thing to keep up with and are often rife with stress-inducing comparisons, gossip and bullying.
This Thursday, the Penn Foster team will head down to Philadelphia for an exciting double-event in partnership with JEVS Human Services (JEVS), a non-profit, multi-service organization with over 20 programs providing skills development, job readiness and career services, to name a few. The day will bring together thought leaders from the local community and beyond to discuss workforce development trends and education solutions, and celebrate recent graduates of Penn Foster High School. So what is on tap for the day?
I sat down with John Shrader, GM and Executive Vice President at Penn Foster, to pick his brain about the intersections of education, workforce development, and talent management. We discussed implications for the future evolution of these industries alongside the growth of education technology, and why this will change the way we learn and work.
In parts one through three of this series, we have explored power skills and their role in the workplace, examining the impact that the Power Skills shortage has had on employers. By diving into both personal effectiveness skills and workplace competencies, we have also highlighted some of the most sought-after employee characteristics by employers. In a 2013 Harvard Business Review article, Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic, professor at Columbia University, emphasized that emotional intelligence (EI) - a key part of many Power Skills - can be developed and improved (unlike IQ, which is static.)1 This assertion is most significant when considering the fact that EI has been shown to be twice as important as cognitive abilities in predicting outstanding employee performance.2
Penn Foster is excited to be sponsoring the NJCA Leadership Summit next week (September 19-20) in Arlington, Virginia. And, on behalf of the rest of the Penn Foster team that will be joining me, we're thrilled to have the opportunity to connect with Job Corps leaders and students from across the country.
You could say it's a good time to become a Veterinary Technician. Boasting over 95,000 workers in the United States, the occupational outlook is only positive; between 2014 and 2024, the veterinary technician profession is expected to increase by 19 percent " much faster than the average growth rate of 7% for all occupations.1 This industry growth and demand for technicians was one of many factors behind BluePearl Veterinary Partners' recent partnership with Penn Foster to offer a Veterinary Technician Associate Degree program. Announced today, the program is available to eligible BluePearl associates at their 50+ hospitals across the nation.2
When we think about the service industry, our first thoughts tend to gravitate toward creating an outstanding customer experience, having consistent processes, and putting the consumer first. However, the concept of serving the employees in the workforce often comes second. In a recent article on RestaurantNews.com, Ed Brett, Chief People Officer at Church's Chicken, addresses the importance of "service" at the most fundamental level " with the employees in your own organization.
Recently, Penn Foster was honored with the recognition as a 2016 Tyton Growth50 company. The Tyton Growth50 celebrates innovative organizations achieving impact at scale through a combination of demonstrated outcomes across the preK"12, postsecondary, corporate training, and consumer education spaces. As one of 50 organizations selected this year, this achievement marks a significant milestone in Penn Foster's 126-year history in distance education.
Soft skills are defined as the personal attributes that help people interact effectively and harmoniously with others. These skills are important, yet have historically played a supporting role next to the essential hard skills required for any given profession. However, as the search for candidates with soft skills has grown increasingly challenging, employers have begun to focus on these attributes over the technical and job-specific skills they traditionally prioritized.

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