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Jake Sotir

Customer Marketing Specialist

As a Customer Marketing Specialist, Jake is dedicated to helping Penn Foster partners achieve success in their implementation of Penn Foster programs and provides support through strategic planning, content development, campaign management, and other ongoing marketing services. When he's not at the office, chances are you'll find him at a concert.

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For many in the service industry, the struggle to balance life and a retail shift schedule leaves little time for chasing career aspirations or returning to a traditional brick and mortar institution. And the opportunity to apply for jobs with better hours, better pay, or greater responsibilities often require a high school diploma. This can leave valuable workers like Chantel Maull, a two-year employee of Church's Chicken without many options for improvement. But Chantel has a lot to celebrate having recently earned both a high school diploma and a promotion from her employer. 
As unemployment numbers continue to hover below 4% nationwide, many organizations with open positions have found it difficult to find skilled workers. As a result, many are turning to education in order to reduce the need to hire externally; employers are opting to train and upskill their workforce from within. While the return on investment for providing in-house skills training is more than worth the initial cost for most employers, generating demand and momentum for your workforce development program from the beginning is vital to long-term success.
On March 20, 2019, yet another successful class of Penn Foster graduates walked the stage to receive their high school diplomas at Red Rock Job Corps in Lopez, PA. These students worked tirelessly over the course of several months to finally realize their goal and take a meaningful step toward creating better lives for themselves.
As the United States economy continues to trend in a positive direction, many industries are still left wondering how to fill a surplus of open jobs with skilled workers. The retail industry isn't immune to this effect by any stretch, as the turnover rate in the industry was a whopping 13% as of March 2018.¹
Like many industries in today's economy, the trucking industry is not immune to the effects of the growing labor shortage for skilled workers. According to the Washington Post, young Americans are increasingly becoming disinterested in joining the trucking labor force, as fear of the imminence of self-driving trucks continues to permeate the industry. While such a reality may still be far into the future, the reality that exists today is this: There simply aren't enough truck drivers to go around.
On April 6th, friends and families gathered to watch their loved ones reach a significant milestone in their lives, as Chicago CRED welcomed its newest group of 27 high school graduates. Twenty-six men and the program's first female graduate walked across the stage to receive their high school diplomas, taking an important step in their journey to make a difference in their communities and create better lives for themselves and for their families.
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As technology continues to evolve at an incredibly fast rate, the role of staffing firms has changed with it. The average worker is finding it more and more difficult to stay current with the necessary skills to succeed in a labor market that's requiring more of them each and every day, and the result is a growing skills gap. As that gap widens, the role of staffing firms has become more important than ever. No longer are staffing firms able to simply play matchmaker between an employer and a prospective hire; in order to remain competitive, they must be able to cultivate highly qualified candidates and successfully find homes for them with the right organizations at the right time.
Businesses today are increasingly being faced with a similar challenge: The need for highly talented employees is moving at a much faster pace than the skills development of those employees. Rapid advancements in technology have completely changed the landscape of the modern labor market, and organizations have more of a responsibility than ever to ensure that they're working to help close this skills gap and giving their workers the ability to survive in a highly competitive environment. In Penn Foster's eBook, "Manufacturing Talent: The New Role for Apprenticeships in Today's Labor Market," author Collin Gutman details the work that is being done by several major organizations to pioneer the rebirth of the modern apprenticeship, dispels some common myths about apprenticeships, and offers a blueprint for success for businesses looking to launch their own programs.  
In today's rapidly-evolving labor market, many employers are struggling to attract and retain highly qualified and talented workers. In an article published in Talent Economy, Penn Foster CEO Frank Britt and Innovate+Educate Founder & CEO Jamai Blivin argue that, as a result of recent tax reform, businesses now have a greater opportunity and responsibility to address this growing skills gap by investing in the continuous development of their employees. With the shelf life of skills constantly shrinking and the durability of degrees dwindling, it's becoming increasingly more difficult for workers to keep their skills current.

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