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Des Sinkevich

Social Media and Content Coordinator

As a Content Coordinator, Des ideates and develops content for partners, students, and their advocates with the goal of providing new information and insight into the expanding landscape of online learning and skills training. Leave this style for all authors - Do Not Remove

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Cat with veterinary worker.
At VMX 2020, one of the world’s leading veterinary conferences, over 17,000 industry leaders and professionals gathered to engage in immersive workshops and continuing education opportunities, sharing thoughts, practices, and guidelines for improving quality patient care. Throughout the event, one trend became increasingly clear: the health and wellness of dedicated veterinarians, veterinary technicians, and veterinary assistants is crucial to ensuring employee retention and practice growth.
Man reviewing data on a tablet.
Is the skills gap real? Whether you believe it’s a business boogeyman that lurks in the dark imaginations of overworked hiring managers, or you see it as a problem for your LinkedIn connections, you might agree on this one thing: it won’t affect your industry. After all, roles at your company are in demand and you have more applicants than positions to fill. For now. In reality, it’s not some big, ominous thing. Rather, the skills gap is simply the gap between what employers want or need their employees to be able to do, and what they can actually do.
Recruiting and retaining dedicated employees who are a good match for your company, and are passionate, reliable, and talented is a struggle for hiring managers in any industry. In a high-stress field such as animal medicine, it can be especially laborious for practice hiring managers to source, train, and retain skilled talent. It becomes even more so when your candidates need to meet certain prerequisites, such as experience in the field, basic knowledge of how animal medicine works, and - depending on the position - national credentials. Adding to the often arduous and expensive process, hiring managers or veterinarians also must balance the workload for current staff and attempt to ameliorate potential problems in order to avoid the higher than average turnover veterinary practices face.
High employee turnover is a growing issue in a myriad of industries, from manufacturing to retail, and can cost a company over 30% of annual wages per vacant position. The Society for Human Resource Management estimates that it takes forty-two days, on average, to fill an open position and the cost-per-hire hovers around $4,129. Recruiting and retaining quality candidates is a priority for employers and, in order to find top talent that will offer a return on their investment, some are using a sense of exclusivity to cull the herd of applicants. However, in order to hire and keep employees who are passionate about what they do and who will grow with the company, transparency and inclusivity are a must. "Find a reason to hire a candidate," Marie Davis, Penn Foster's Director of National Employer Partnerships, says, "not a reason to turn them away."
It's no secret that the modern workforce is in flux. Advances in automation and technology continue to transform the American economy and with it, the skills required to secure meaningful work. Combined with a growing skills gap, the workforce landscape in the United States is changing at a rapid pace. The solution is complicated. It will require government reform and creating educational pathways that lead to a secure future, and will take the joined efforts of industry experts in education, training, and workforce development, in tandem with policy makers, to navigate the new skills economy. 
The concept that a four-year university degree is the only path that leads to meaningful, lucrative employment is outdated. In many ways, it's an ideal that can't keep pace with the swift technological advancement that is impacting employers and workers in a variety of industries. Employers struggle to find trained talent to fill skilled or middle-skilled roles. Workers, many of whom rely on steady employment and income, can't afford to take time from that work to learn in a classroom setting, let alone pay the exorbitant tuition of colleges and universities. And, if they do take that time, the degree earned doesn't necessarily provide them with the skills that employers look for, leaving many workers underemployed at best.
Mike Lewis, entrepreneur and author, recently collaborated with Penn Foster Education in an informative and motivational webinar titled "Make Your Jump." Lewis, a graduate of Dartmouth, left a prestigious job at a venture capital firm to pursue his passion-playing squash professionally. He teamed up with a panel of diverse Penn Foster students to share their stories and speak to the barriers that often hold them back from tackling their career goals. Though the insights gleaned from the conversation between Lewis and Penn Foster students Rocco, Brittney, and Kathy encourage other students and peers to make the jump toward the career they want, there are a few key takeaways that can inform the way employers approach career development for their employees. 
In the retail industry, it can be difficult to find and retain reliable employees who have a developed set of soft skills. Whether hires simply don't work out or leave to look for different career opportunities, low retention rates make finding strong leaders you trust to run the day-to-day operations of your business nearly impossible. One solution to boost retention rates and prepare your employees to take on leadership roles is investing in comprehensive soft skills training. 
Innovation and adaptability keep the world of industry constantly moving forward, expanding business opportunities, offering more jobs, and nurturing a growing global economy. Advances in technology over the last few decades, however, have simultaneously created new jobs while rendering many other positions obsolete. Worry over automation and artificial intelligence replacing low and middle-skilled work has troubled a workforce that has been historically confident in their job security. But the digitalization of formerly analog positions is only the most recent "revolution" in a series of changes over the last several hundred years. For businesses looking to retain loyal employees and become competitive in hiring, embracing change and implementing comprehensive training programs is essential.
Veterinary medicine has long been a thriving industry. Every pet owner wants to ensure their animal companion is at peak health. Veterinarians and Veterinary Technicians study long and hard to learn how to properly diagnose and treat our furry friends. They're very obviously vital to a thriving veterinary practice. But just as necessary is the Veterinary Practice Manager, the person who can confidently and efficiently run a practice. We spoke with Dr. James Hurrell (more commonly known as Dr. Jim to the students and staff at Penn Foster), an expert in veterinary medicine, to learn more about why veterinary practices need managers who aren't the practice owner and how Penn Foster's new Veterinary Practice Management Undergraduate Certificate can help grow a strong practice.

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