February 16th, 2023
The World Economic Forum’s Future of Jobs Report 2020 showed that nearly half of all American workers will require reskilling by the year 2025.
At this year’s World Economic Forum’s Annual Meeting in Davos, Guild was honored to be featured among innovations and innovators to watch, as the critical link between access to education and opportunity remains abundantly clear and top-of-mind for equity-minded policymakers.
Employer-funded learning is also at the center of many discussions and news articles about today’s chaotic labor market, particularly as it relates to equitably empowering employees to gain the skills and competencies that will help them prepare for career mobility and growth — while addressing critical talent needs across industries.
What’s detailed less often is how it’s done.
For example, whether or not employers provide funded learning opportunities is not by itself a solution to the prodigious reskilling needs the World Economic Forum’s report highlights for the American workforce – the strategy behind funded learning matters.
Employees need equitable access to funded learning, education programs that are thoughtfully designed for their needs, meaningful support throughout their learning journeys, and opportunities to access career mobility with all that it entails.
1. Broadening access
Although it may not seem immediately obvious which companies are providing funded learning opportunities as part of a thoughtful talent and mobility strategy and which are simply ticking a box, looking at who has access to funded learning opportunities is a strong preliminary indicator.
At Guild, responsibility for access doesn’t stop with employers. Learning programs that provide flexible options both in terms of multiple start dates and program delivery show prospective students and their employers that programs have been designed with an awareness of the time poverty — itself a major barrier to access — that working adult students can face in the pursuit of education attainment.
2. Building career-aligned skills
Education and skilling programs are well aware of the increased pressure and scrutiny to better deliver on career outcomes for students. Those that design for the lived realities of working adult students and relevance to their career goals have a significant opportunity to have an outsize impact on driving better mobility outcomes for learners, as Guild’s new white paper, Helping Students Build the Right Skills for Career Mobility, explores.
3. Growing opportunity
A labor market in constant flux can be particularly challenging in terms of translation into skills in demand, which can force learning programs into a reactive position.
Conversely, Guild Learning Partners benefit from insights into the unique needs of working adult learners, as well as the business needs of large, innovative employers.
Guild’s Learning Partners share in learners’ vision for opportunity. In an interview at Guild’s 2022 Opportunity Summit, Kate Smith, President of Rio Salado College, explained that the impact of individual success has far-reaching potential:
“This is truly about that social and economic mobility. Proving that pathway. These employees having access and being able to start what might have been a dream for them. That affects not only the individual, that affects their entire families, and that affects generations of families. If we’re going to break poverty, this is how we do it.”Kate Smith, President at Rio Salado College
Equity-focused programs understand the enormous impact they stand to drive for working adult learners.
Ensuring the outcomes students and employers want and expect from their funded learning experience requires a strong understanding of skilling needs within a dynamic labor market, as well as the right mission-aligned partnerships.