- The Business-Higher Education Forum (BHEF) — along with Business Roundtable and the Greater Washington Partnership's Capital CoLAB — recently received a $1 million grant to develop partnerships for reskilling and upskilling STEM professionals.
- From the National Science Foundation's Convergence Accelerator project, the grant has a nine-month duration, after which point BHEF can request up to $5 million in additional funding for 2020.
- The work will focus on creating a model to better connect employers and higher education to enhance workers' skills.
Employees and employers know that workers will need training to keep pace with the digitization of jobs. But barriers remain. Business leaders often think colleges don't adequately prepare students for the workforce, even if those institutions and students think they do. And many employers say they lack resources for training.
Partnerships between educators, governments and employers are seen as one solution, with such collaborations cropping up around the country.
The Capital CoLAB, for example, includes a set of credentials developed by companies and colleges in the Washington, D.C., metro area. Students who earn the credentials get priority for job interviews and internships with those firms. And in Louisville, Kentucky, colleges, funding organizations and employers are in the early stages of teaming up to expand education and workforce opportunities in technology.
Other recent initiatives reveal a desire to fund an expansion in workforce education. In August, the National Governors Association and Strada Education Network announced grants for worker training in six states. Similarly, Google and the National 4-H Council plan to invest in training young people in the computer sciences.
Seeing this potential, Arizona State University launched its InStride venture earlier this year with the expectation of connecting colleges and employers to train workers. National University System recently added a similar unit. And several institutions are growing their online programs through employer partnerships.