Our Commitment to Upskill Workers

Our Commitment to Upskill Workers

BlogWe face a crisis in the U.S. Our workforce ranks in the bottom third among 34 industrialized countries in basic skills, according to an October 2013 report from the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), an intergovernmental organization whose member countries include the economic leaders in Europe, North and South America and the Asia-Pacific region, collectively producing two-thirds of the world’s goods and services.

The U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Vocational and Adult Education emphasizes that we need to “improve the quality of teaching and instruction.”  At Skylab, we assert that such improvements are only part of the solution.

Ultimately, we need to change the experience and expectations of what learning means to individuals while cultivating a corps of instructors who excel at both integrating new technologies into their instructional models and helping low-skilled workers develop strategies to “own” their personal and vocational development.

Community colleges and public programs afford important opportunities to educate and train those entering the workforce. High demand, limited resources, and limited access conspire to create a formidable bottleneck in this traditional pipeline. Additionally, the quality of current online resources, including apps and various types of e-learning products, are all over the map. Finally, adults often miss the connections between isolated courses and resources and their occupational application.

A great deal of research has been done around the effects of “extending time” of education, whether it’s the school day or school year, on learner advancement.  The data, which suggests improvements, is based on extension of a traditional model and is only one strategy to improve outcomes and productivity. In pre-training and workplace settings, a critical goal is to reduce the amount of time needed to improve and master skills while increasing the effectiveness of learning experiences.

Ultimately, we need to change one’s expectations of learning, exploring ways to make the process more relevant, efficient, and engaging. Only then, will we be able to increase the pipeline of workers into new jobs and support ongoing skill development among incumbent workers working toward promotion and career advancement.

We are committed to creating new approaches to train and educate employees, as well as to playing an active role in the national conversation about how we “upskill” our workforce in the retail, food service, home health care, hospitality, and manufacturing industries.

On Friday, April 24th, Skylab Learning will participate in the White House Upskill Summit, joining 150 employers, labor leaders, foundations, non-profits, educators and tech innovators from across America who are answering the President’s call to action and equipping workers of all ages with the skills they need to advance into better-paying jobs. The White House will announce new commitments being made by public and private partners in response to a call to action launched by the President in January “to help workers of all ages earn a shot at better, higher-paying jobs, even if they don’t have a higher education.”