So many Americans have great skills, but for too long we’ve valued the college degree as the primary path to success, even though 70% of Americans don’t have one. This has left many Americans—particularly those with a high-school diploma and some college experience—with fewer paths to opportunity, while at the same time many employers struggle to fill open positions.
The millions of Americans who don’t have a four-year college degree, but want to learn or demonstrate the skills or credentials to advance their career, need a new way in! Imagine, then, if we had a transparent and efficient skills-based labor market that values people’s skills, not just degrees, and which supports lifelong learning—the ability to change career paths and continuously develop at any age in this rapidly changing economy.
At SKILLFUL, we are providing that new way in by building a set of online and offline tools to connect middle-skill job seekers—those with a high-school diploma and some college experience, but not a four-year degree—with employers, educators and community coaches so they can advance their careers. SKILLFUL focuses on the key skills and training needed for each job, rather than on degrees or certificates. It marries the online platform with on-the-ground engagement to build a grassroots effort to reach jobseekers in their communities.
SKILLFUL is like GPS for a job seeker’s career. It shows them which companies are hiring, what kinds of jobs are available, the skills required and where to find the training to get those jobs. It also gives them access to SKILLFUL navigators who are experienced advisors and SKILLFUL coaches. They’ll help job seekers learn about available pathways; share informed insights about additional training or schooling; and help them understand how to demonstrate their own skills and interests.
SKILLFUL will enhance collaboration between employers and educators. It will help employers expand the talent available to fill their open jobs, and make it easier for educators to tailor their programs to meet current and future industry demands so their students acquire the skills they need to get hired.
The SKILLFUL platform is first going live in Colorado and the greater Phoenix area, with an initial focus on advanced manufacturing and IT. We believe it can serve as a model for other communities across the nation.
SKILLFUL IS FOR YOU:
- Job seekers will use the tools provided by SKILLFUL to explore career paths, get training, acquire new skills and get a job.
- Employers will work with us to improve their job descriptions by including required skills and to collaborate with local education and training institutions to develop programs that provide workers with the skills and knowledge required to get open jobs.
- Educators and trainers receive crucial data about the employment landscape in the regions they are serving, and develop curricula to prepare workers in real time for the ever-changing labor market. We are using big data and employer feedback to provide them with insights into the critical thinking and leadership skills employers require, as well as the concrete knowledge they seek.
- Navigators: SKILLFUL has deployed experienced advisors and SKILLFUL coaches to help job seekers identify the skills required for jobs, the skills they already have and ways to strengthen them.
SKILLFUL IS UNIQUE:
- Partners nationally and locally to reach deep within communities and through local networks to connect with job seekers, employers and educators and trainers.
- Connects people and meets them where they are—online or in their community.
- Works with employers to craft their job descriptions focused on the skills required for jobs, not just degrees.
- Provides employers with data and projections that allows them better predict their needs and the training programs and educators that provide the graduates they seek.
- Improves collaboration between employers and educators.
- Informed by data from some of the best firms in the nation, as well as government data: LinkedIn, Burning Glass, McKinsey, Civis Analytics and North Star Opinion Research.
- Provides jobseekers with insight into what jobs are open, which skills are required for those jobs and which training programs will teach them the skills they need to get the job they want.