Computer skills a must in today’s workforce

You can often find articles discussing a skills gap in today’s workforce. What this means varies, depending on the source, the profession and the skills being addressed. Different industries have different needs, as do workers in different stages of their professional lives. It’s not easy to address them all.

My colleague, Pam Wright, wrote in a past issue about the need for soft skills training – those crucial customer service and collaborative skills that are relevant to all industries. These remain as important as ever, but businesses are also looking for something else that has an impact on day-to-day operations and future success: computer skills.

At first, this seems like a no-brainer. Of course, computer skills are important. It’s 2017 – technology is everywhere. Everyone has a smartphone, tablet or other device. Even with so much technology in our lives, those everyday interactions don’t always translate to the workplace.

 The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics found in 2012 that more than half of jobs required some kind of technology skills. By 2020, that number is forecast to reach 77 percent. That means in less than three years three out of four jobs in this country will require some level of computer proficiency.

Degree Plus?

Not every student walking away with a liberal arts degree from the University of Utah — or any other institution, for that matter — feels confident picking a profession or finding a job in an often tepid market.

So the university has introduced an option growing in popularity — a certificate program, what it has labeled as “degree-plus.” Though certificates often are geared toward older adults returning to academe and seeking to diversify their skill sets, the University of Utah has concentrated on recent liberal arts graduates, largely in the humanities and social sciences.

The pitch: through just seven or eight weeks of what university officials call inexpensive classes, those with a liberal arts background can learn technical skills that will make them more attractive to prospective employers, and possibly introduce them to a new field.

Click here to read Jeremy Bauer-Wolf’s entire article published on the Inside Higher Ed website. 

BCHS receives nearly $70,000 for CTE program

The Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) has awarded 26 grants totaling $5 million to public community and technical colleges and independent school districts for programs that focus on supporting high-demand occupations through the Jobs and Education for Texans (JET) grant program.

Bay City ISD has been awarded $68,696 of that $5 million grant. The funds will go towards to purchase and install equipment for 280 students training in the medical profession to become registered nurses.

Click here to read the entire Press Release for the Texas Workforce Commission. 

IoT World Forum: Mind The Skills Gap With Insights Services

IoT World Forum 2017 has just wrapped up and the biggest takeaway was the skills gap. Companies don’t have the expertise to fully implement and benefit from their IoT initiatives.

This was the fourth year of the event, with a theme of “taking IoT to the next level” and “bringing it all together.” The organizers were clear on their mission to help the audience with concrete “how to” sessions.

In a recent study sponsored by Cisco, 62% of respondents reported that the IoT opportunity was real, but that they had barely scratched the surface. The same study also found that only 26% of IoT initiatives were completely successful and 15% failed. That means that the rest are somewhere in the middle, potentially stalled – but with some hope remaining.  The same survey asked about the challenges they faced in implementing IoT initiatives; the results are telling. The #1 challenge was lack of expertise, followed by integration complexity – challenges that each exacerbates the other.

Click here to read Jennifer Belissent’s article from the website Forrester. 

Employers Need to Get Creative If They are Going to Fill Open Vacancies

Virginia’s jobless rate stood at 3.8 percent in April.

Even before the low unemployment rate, employers have been complaining of vacancies that go unfilled because of the lack of available skilled workers.

The issue of a skills gap reached the concern of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission which, last month, held a public meeting on the issue of the current state of the U.S. workforce, and what jobs may be in future demand.  While not directly in the purview of the EEOC’s mission to eradicate employment discrimination, the EEOC said it was holding the meeting because “discrimination must be remedied with employment opportunity.”

The American Enterprise Institute stated in the meeting that employers are creating skill-intensive jobs but these cannot be filled unless the existing workforce upgrades their skills so they can more easily match positions available.

Click here to read Karen Michael’s complete article from the Richmond Times-Dispatch.

JPMorgan Chase pledges $17M towards job training for high school grads

JPMorgan Chase & Co. today announced a $17 million, five-year commitment to U.S. cities working to increase the number of teens with access to quality summer work experiences that put them on a path to greater economic mobility. As part of the firm’s more than $325 million global investment in skills development, this nationwide effort will help equip young people with the skills and experiences they need to succeed and bridge the gap between the demand for summer jobs and the number of available positions.

Click here to read the entire article from the BusinessWire website. 

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