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The Penn Foster Blog

Where Talent Meets Career Opportunity

The thought of juggling both work and class can often be a roadblock for employees who'd like to go back to school. At first glance, employers might be reluctant to hire workers who are juggling several external responsibilities. But employers who support their employees in earning a degree can reap a variety of benefits, including increased loyalty, higher retention rates, and greater engagement at work. Here's how you can help ease your employee's education journey.
Over the decades, companies large and small have had to be nimble, adapt, and transform in order to stay relevant and competitive in the ever-shifting global market. The incoming generation of workers, Gen Z, are highly tech savvy and ultra-connected. In order to attract and retain this incoming workforce, employers must embrace a new culture of technology and learning. Understanding the motivations and expectations of this group will be essential for companies to position themselves for tomorrow's success.
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Thirty-eight percent of employers report having trouble filling jobs, according to ManpowerGroup's latest annual Talent Shortage Survey.1 This is a 2 percent increase over 2014, demonstrating that the skills gap is a growing problem for employers. The jobs most impacted by this skills gap are skilled trade workers (including plumbers, electricians, auto mechanics and HVAC technicians), administrative professionals, drivers, sales representatives and accounting and finance staff.
In a culture where the four-year college experience is considered traditional, some students worry that attending a career school will carry the stigma of being "less than." However, the reality is that education is changing to keep pace with technology and the economy, and educators and employers have come to recognize the benefits of alternatives in higher education.
Many employers report struggling with recruiting and retaining hardworking, successful millennial workers. Yet the reality is, millennials are now the largest generation in U.S. labor force, according to the Pew Research Center.1 Employers at Quick Service Restaurants who don't understand what millennials want from their jobs and employers need to learn to accommodate the typical expectations of this rising generation - or continue to face the skyrocketing costs of high turnover.
Social media can be a powerful method of communicating with prospective students - if your career college uses it correctly. About two-thirds of high school students use social media to research colleges, and more than one-third of those students use social media to help decide where to enroll, according to a survey conducted by Zinch, an online scholarship- and school-matching service.1,2 Follow these five best practices to boost your career college's enrollment efforts and give prospective students insight into your school.
With the recent changes to the FAFSA, scam artists are targeting students who need help filling out the form. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau recently initiated claims of $5.2 million in damages against one company, Student Financial Aid Services, Inc., alleging that they promised students free help but then charged recurring fees to their credit cards.1,2 Unfortunately, this is only one example of numerous scams currently targeting students.
Attracting, recruiting, training and retaining employees can be costly endeavors for any organization. Supporting and encouraging employee development is a great way to lower these costs, especially in industries with high turnover rates. To help build a workplace of engaged, motivated workers, encourage your employees to pursue promotions, further their education and make improvements in areas of weakness.1 Industry giants such as Starbucks and Home Depot have implemented generous employee development benefits. Fiat/Chrysler recently expanded their partnership with Strayer University to provide free college for all employees and their immediate family members.2 These companies know that better educated employees make for better employees. Attract and retain top talent by giving them a compelling reason to grow with your company.
Filling out the FAFSA is one of the biggest barriers for students trying to fund their college education. The form asks more than 100 questions in an attempt to determine student aid eligibility, and while it only takes an average of 20 minutes to complete once the necessary paperwork has been assembled, U.S. Under Secretary of Education Ted Mitchell called that "19 minutes too long."1 Students and their parents get intimidated by the FAFSA's length and complexity, making it tempting to procrastinate until they miss deadlines.
At Penn Foster, we hear inspiring stories every day about how our graduates have overcome tremendous odds to achieve their goals. Though most of our students may be considered "nontraditional' by conventional standards, we serve them because we believe that quality, affordable education should be a right, and not a privilege. Now, with new data from the U.S. Department of Education's National Center for Education Statistics, we're seeing a shift in what's considered "traditional' in the current undergraduate student population in the United States. Penn Foster has been serving the needs of "nontraditional" students for over 125 years, starting out by offering correspondence courses through weekly newspapers, to a brick-and-mortar school, eventually transforming into the online school it is today.

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