LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner on the importance of interpersonal skills

According to LinkedIn data, American workers are lacking in something that might surprise you: interpersonal skills. It’s something that matches up with LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner‘s own personal message about the importance of leading compassionately.

“It’s interesting because a lot of people are fixated on technology… But what we found when we did our skills gap analytical work is interpersonal skills, the gap there is roughly three times higher than software engineering in the United States,” Weiner told “CBS This Morning” on Wednesday.

Interpersonal skills, according to Weiner, are the kind that most anyone can develop.

“We’re talking about communication, reasoning, team coordination. Jobs in customer service, sales development, business development, education all require those kinds of skills,” he said. “These kinds of interpersonal skills you can pick up in classes that are online, increasingly, and it’s wonderful to see that there’s a rise in the amount of courses being offered and the number of providers who are increasingly thinking about where the jobs are and will be and the skills required to obtain those jobs.”

Click here to watch the interview posted on the CBS News website.

Click here to read the entire article on CBS News website. 


Governor unveils apprenticeship ‘playbook’

Companies can use guide to start their own training programs

A new online “playbook” is available to guide Iowa employers, high schools and students interested in establishing a registered apprenticeship program in their local communities to enhance work skills and job opportunities, Gov. Kim Reynolds said Tuesday.

Reynolds made the announcement at the Career Academy of Pella, which partnered with Vermeer Corp. to develop the playbook.

The work was done in consultation with other regional employers, school districts and governmental agencies, such as Iowa’s STEM Advisory Council, Future Ready Iowa, the U.S. Department of Labor Office of Apprenticeship in Iowa and Des Moines Area Community College.

“The combination of classroom instruction with on-the-job experience through registered apprenticeships takes learning to a new level,” said Reynolds, who used her weekly news conference to promote the effort. “This employer-driven model helps students gain valuable skills and pursue outstanding career opportunities in Iowa, while helping businesses hire the skilled workers they need.”

Click here to read Rob Boshart’s complete article published on The Gazette website.


Digital learning is becoming almost commonplace in classrooms across America; however, you will still come across opposition. While studies suggest digital learning is changing education for the better, it does not mean that digital learning is without problems. Ask any teacher who has ever attempted to use technology or digital resources in his or her classroom, and you will be told about a time when technology let them down.

And, yet, even with the digital learning challenges teachers face, most are willing to deal with them to make their classroom a digital learning environment. Today, let’s take some time to look at some of the more common digital learning challenges and discuss ways to overcome them.

Click here to read Matthew Lynch’s complete article published on The Tech Edvocate website.

Making The Learning Experience Student-Centered To Combat The Skills Gap From College To Career

When students are cognizant of the relevance between their education and their desired career, 63% are more likely to agree that their education was worth the cost and 50% are more likely to agree that they received a high-quality education. Today, however, college graduates are unable to make potential employers aware of the skills they’ve developed through their coursework and co-curricular activities, leading to dissatisfaction with the quality and value of their postsecondary education.

This skills gap, or what I’ve more precisely denoted as the “awareness gap,” is dangerous for the longevity of institutions and also the foundation of our educational system.  In fact, David Blake, CEO and chairman of Degreed, explains that “the business world is beginning to innovate and experiment with other ways to match the actual skills of a potential employee. We have seen skills-based credentials, micro-degrees, boot camps, and competency-based courses explode in the last few years. Skills are money, and we need more currency in today’s marketplace.”

Click here to read Troy Markowitz’s complete article published on the Forbes website.

Designing a school for next-century learning

Sartell-St. Stephen Independent School District, located in central Minnesota, is one of many school districts across the country that recognized a need to dramatically evolve traditional classrooms to create a variety of specialized and flexible learning environments to meet the needs of next-century learners.

Cuningham Group Architecture, in collaboration with engineering and architecture firm IIW-Minnesota, is designing a new 1,350-student high school that is scheduled to open in the fall of 2019.

Early in the design process, the district’s administration, staff, and community members determined that there was a need to create innovative and collaborative spaces to best foster next-century learning. Reimagining how all learning spaces—from traditional classrooms to the Media Center—function was a pivotal design direction for the new school. All spaces were designed with flexibility and adaptability in mind so that over time, as technology evolves, students are continually exposed to the most relevant technology.

Click here to read W. TYLER WHITEHEAD complete article published on the eSchool News website.

Jobs require more than high school education

In the past, many jobs in the agriculture-dependent Yakima Valley have not required an education past high school, and access to further education for many students has been difficult. But that history is changing in the present — especially in the skills needed for jobs — and is likely to accelerate in the future. Students and the schools that educate them will need to change with these times.

A Yakima Herald-Republic story earlier this month spelled out the concerns held by many educators about the still-low numbers of students pursuing post-secondary education, especially in college. The reasons are familiar: high poverty rates in a low-wage economy with many seasonal jobs; transportation challenges in getting to classes — four-year access has improved in recent years but remains an issue; and the number of students from families without post-secondary education. Too many K-12 students in the Valley grow up believing that college is unattainable or unnecessary. Also, many teenagers have to work to support their family and feel they don’t have time for school.

Click here to read remaining editorial letter published on the Yakima Herald website.

EmployBridge Makes Significant Strides in Addressing American Skills Gap

Reaching an important milestone in helping close the skills gap in America’s workforce, EmployBridge today announced that its Better WorkLife Academy has enrolled more than 10,000 participants since launching in August 2017. In partnership with online learning and skills training leader Penn Foster, EmployBridge’s Better WorkLife Academy offers the company’s contingent employees a wide range of career-focused courses, all available at no cost to them.

“We saw the growing skills gap crisis in our country, and we decided to take action and seek out effective ways to help close it,” said EmployBridge CEO Tom Bickes. “We’re making significant investments in our Better WorkLife Academy in order to help our associates improve their skills and career prospects, while building a stronger workforce for employers. The rapid enrollment growth we’ve experienced clearly shows that we’re providing a much-needed service.”

Click here to read about EmployBridge’s successes since launching Better WorkLife Academy which were published on the Cision PR Newswire website.

Industry hit by lack of CTE number of schools

In a day and age where most students are pressured to pursue a college degree regardless of their desire for higher education, it is important to educate students, along with the rest of the community, about other options, such as “skilled trade” paths.

A few occupations may come to mind when one thinks “trade jobs,” such as electricians, plumbers and construction workers. However, there are many other jobs that are considered to be a skilled trade — jobs such as dental hygienists, medical technicians, machinists and tool and die makers, just to name a few.

The skilled trade industry has grown over the years, but candidates for these jobs are lacking; younger generations are not aware of all their options post-high-school graduation. Most skilled trade jobs now require additional education, not just manual skills like before, to prepare students to join the workforce. These programs seek to refine skills students already possess in order to make them a valued asset. For these reasons, pursuing a skilled trade post-high school is a wise choice for many students.

Click here to read Mike Walker’s article pertaining to Dienamic Tooling Systems (a full-service tool and die shop, including an apprenticeship program for tool and die makers in in Roane County, TN) published on Roane County News website. 

Lesson from Liberal, Kan.: Community colleges must reach out more to communities

These are times of deep distrust of higher learning institutions, with colleges and universities having lost their standing with some of the public. It’s clear that not everyone shares the belief that campuses serve as engines of thoughtful discourse and equality.

As an educator, it is easy to blame politics and partisan polarization for this disagreement about the value of higher education. It is more difficult to think critically about the widespread belief among educators that they, not the communities they purport to serve, know best. For those in our communities, lofty and abstract notions tied to a college education bear little meaning if a degree does not actually improve their lives in some tangible way.

I know this reality well.

Click here to read Ken Trzaska’s compelling article published on The Washington Post. 

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