September 20, 2021 by Drew Repp
Both businesses and communities recognize the need and benefit of upskilling their workforce. Businesses realize investing in training for their employees results in workers who are more agile, engaged, and loyal. And with job openings continuing to grow, the need to retain employees and support their career growth becomes more important.
For communities, this same need has long been recognized and comes in various forms and names: workforce training, talent development, talent pipeline, career pathways, and many others.
With businesses and communities both desiring upskilling and reskilling for their workforce, what is the best way to ensure the right training is identified, and done so efficiently?
When a jobseeker doesn’t have the necessary skills for a job they want, spending time and money on the wrong training only compounds the problem. Additionally, at a time when the skills needed for many jobs are changing at breakneck speed, the benefits of traditional programs (college and university programs) can be obsolete by the time a graduate completes the program.
To connect jobseekers to the right program, the curriculum of programs needs to be mapped by skills taught. And specifically for those in workforce development, the skills being taught in programs of the local Eligible Training Provider List (ETPL). This allows Career Coaches to pinpoint training that actually prepares a jobseeker with the skills for their desired job.
This is one of the unique functions of our recently released SkillFit tool. With local courses and programs mapped, SkillFit allows users to search for the training that specifically addresses their skill gap.
Skills themselves have emerged as the best method to identify what training is needed and where to find it. This is because skills are the common language used by people, employers, and learning providers, and consequently represent the needs of a local market.
Misidentification of a jobseeker’s existing knowledge and abilities not only keeps them from obtaining jobs they are qualified for but also keeps them from pursuing the right training for the job they want. Historically, a jobseeker’s qualification for a job was based on their level of education, years of experience, and previous positions (job titles). These aren’t necessarily bad qualifiers for a job, but skills provide a better description of a jobseeker’s existing abilities.
But since skills are what an employer is seeking—not a title or degree, but the skills which are expected to be present with them—assessing a jobseekers qualifications based on skills more efficiently unearths qualified candidates. And for the purposes of identifying training needs, starting with a jobseeker’s skill profile results in more accurate assessment of needs.
When those skills desired by an employer are pulled from job postings and coupled with the skill profile of jobseekers, accurate job matches can be made. But in the economic and workforce development space, perhaps an even more important discovery can be made: precisely where a skill gap exists.
When a desired job match isn’t made, helping jobseekers easily see the skills they need to get from where they are to where they want to be is the ticket. This clearly defined gap makes a training program recommendation more palatable. Jobseekers are able to connect how the time and cost of a training program enables them to close a skill gap and get the job they want.
With their training mapped in the language of skills (ETPL mapping), communities can ensure the programs jobseekers invest in will have the desired result: reskilling or upskilling them for the jobs they want. This avoids the dreaded pitfall of misspent time and money on inadequate programs.
Jobs are defined by the skills they require. With those skills constantly changing, communities who direct their jobseekers based on skills sought in the market and skills taught in training programs will serve employers and jobseekers better.