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Space shuttle launching.
During Learn Launch 2020, there was a trend in sessions whose titles used the term “future” in some capacity. That’s unsurprising considering as people and leaders we’re always preparing for what’s next, but something an audience member said woke me up. She said, essentially, that we have to stop talking about the “future of work” because it gives us permission to assume we have time to change.
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. 
While libraries have significantly evolved over the last decade to become more technologically advanced, they have also progressed considerably when it comes to providing educational services to their patrons. This is especially important in a time when 73% of American adults consider themselves lifelong learners.1 Nick Buron, Chief Librarian at a location that serves nearly 2.3 million patrons, takes it one step further and insists that lifelong learning is "no longer a luxury " it is a necessity."
The pace of change in the modern workplace means that your employees must learn continuously.
When you select a training and education program for your staff, you're looking for more than ways to upskill employees. You're looking for a training partner who can help you realize a positive return on investment for your efforts.
Today's tight labor market has been attributed to the growing skills gap, the increase in retiring baby boomers, high rates of employee turnover, and more. Despite all of these factors, there has not yet been a full shift from the must-have college degree mindset to a learn-and-earn model that could better support employers and employees.
Finding the ideal employee isn't easy. Someone with the perfect mix of skills and experience is unlikely to simply walk through your door. Most candidates will meet some of your requirements but lack skills in other key areas.
As the number of "nontraditional" students, especially working learners, rises, the traditional secondary education format, i.e. a recent high school graduate going to a brick-and-mortar college fulltime, is becoming less of a reality. Many learners are struggling to access the brick-and-mortar college because of finances or actual distance " nearly 11.2 million adults live in an education desert, or more than sixty minutes from a public college.1
Almost every industry is feeling the effects of the skills gap. It's a problem that's not likely to be solved by educational reforms alone, especially in the short-term. Companies need trained, qualified employees now, not four years from now when college freshman become graduates, and certainly not 16 years from now when today's first-graders get their diplomas.

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