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The Penn Foster Blog

Where Talent Meets Career Opportunity

You might already be convinced that giving your employees access to training and educational opportunities is good for them and good for your business. Now you have to decide what kind of learning opportunities to offer them. Should you hire an in-house trainer? Partner with a local community college? Provide tuition assistance for a traditional four-year institution? Online learning is becoming more and more popular. Is that an avenue worth exploring?   
The culmination of months or years of focus, rearranged schedules, and late night studying is a noteworthy achievement for any graduate, but is often even more so for those learners who pursue their goals outside of a traditional school setting. Whether through employer-sponsored upskilling and workforce development initiatives or personal efforts to start a new career path or advance within their current company, these learners are working toward a tangible outcome: improving their lives through education. And though that outcome alone is acknowledgement of success, there's nothing that feels quite the same as walking across a stage with fellow graduates, family and friends: a cheering cacophony in the background. In fact, commencement ceremonies have become so ingrained in the culture of education that, without it, the dedication and work that lead a student to successfully complete their course almost feels like a cliffhanger ending in a movie with no sequel.
Those drawn to the veterinary medical field are often motivated primarily by their passion and dedication to animals and their well-being. From a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) to a veterinary technician or veterinary assistant, working with animals is more than a way to earn a paycheck - it's also about doing work that can make a positive impact on patients and their humans. Veterinary practices, whether corporate or private, that employ trained and credentialed veterinary technicians can build a team that is not only devoted to their work, but confident in their ability to effectively do that work. Even better, that confidence and passion for what they do can have a positive impact on the practice's gross revenue. While these profits may not be the most important motivator to veterinarians and veterinary technicians, it does ensure that the practice can grow, develop, and maintain a high standard of quality patient care.
The pace of change in the modern workplace means that your employees must learn continuously.
While jobs are opening and remaining unfilled in industries as diverse as manufacturing and retail, one industry is facing a unique epidemic: healthcare. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the healthcare industry is expected to grow 18% between 2016 to 2026, adding 2.4 million new jobs. This growth is projected to climb particularly in patient-facing roles that do not require extensive college credentials.
Imagine a future in which employers focus more on skills competencies than on degrees when hiring new employees. While in some industries, that future may be far off, for middle-skills industries that are hit the hardest by the skills gap -- industries like allied health, manufacturing, the trades, and tech -- this new way of measuring candidate readiness might just be the solution they're looking for.
"There is an old African proverb: If you don't embrace the young in your village, they will return later to burn it down for its warmth."
It's no secret that finding skilled talent is getting harder. For decades, the labor pool had been more of a labor stream. It flowed in a predictable direction and employers knew where the best fishing spots were. Students graduated from high school, went to college, then were hooked by employers who gave them a job and, in many cases, a lifelong career. In this system, schools were responsible for educating and training. All businesses had to do was stand at their trusted fishing spot and catch whatever came by.
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. 

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