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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.
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Employee engagement is key to employee, and ultimately, company success. Effective managers, training and upskilling programs, and teambuilding can all contribute to higher employee engagement and therefore performance. However, regular goal setting is another crucial step for improving employee performance, and the practice should not be limited to January 1st or during annual reviews.
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.
One of the great things about our country is that we are not just defined by what's happened in the past, we're also shaped by the possibilities of the future.  So, on a day that is the ultimate definition of the "present," the monthly release of the Labor Department's jobs report, I think we should celebrate " but only for a quick moment " the positive numbers and look ahead to what we can all do to make the jobs environment even better in that future we can still invent.
Front line employees are a crucial, and sometimes overlooked, group of workers at any organization. Whether they are working on the factory floor or greeting your customers on the sales floor, front line employees can have a dramatic impact on a company's productivity, efficiency, and bottom line.
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The need for increased investment in training and development has never been greater. That was the sentiment expressed by Penn Foster CEO Frank Britt in an interview with Ed Tech Times at last month's LearnLaunch conference. With an emphasis on "closing the skills gap," Britt explains that given high-growth occupation industries like hospitality and skilled trades, effective middle skilled workers are in increasingly high demand. However, many middle skilled workers do not have all of the skills they need to be the most effective. This lack of effective middle skilled workers has created this middle skills gap which hurts employers, businesses, and employees themselves.
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As we've seen time and again, front line supervisors have the potential to make a tremendous impact on the overall productivity and efficiency of a company's workforce, yet new hires often receive minimal training when transitioning into this new role. Indeed, 71% of front line supervisors receive infrequent or occasional training, according to a Harvard Business Schools Report.1 In a separate report form McKinsey, only 10% of executives only 10% of executives said that their front line manager training program is effective at preparing managers to lead.2 It should come as no surprise then, that 60% of front line supervisors underperform within their first two years.3
The demand for front line employees with well-developed soft skills has never been higher. While technical skills have been and will always remain important, soft skills are the crucial capabilities for employees working in any industry. From retail to manufacturing, strong soft skills has become the number one requirement for incoming or newly hired employees.1

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