- A cohort of business groups has partnered to create a state network focused on, among other things, expanding work-based learning. The group, Business Leaders United (BLU), said in a press release that the network will include state chambers of commerce, economic development authorities and others.
- The network will help develop state policy solutions to drive federal policy around workforce development and secondary education, according to BLU.
- Specifically, it will work to expand apprenticeship and work-based learning initiatives, arrange financial aid for those seeking to improve their skills and partner with local schools to upskill entry-level workers.
Partnerships to upskill workers are popping up across the country. Whether it's nonprofit organizations working with tech giants, industry leaders pairing up with education providers or other hybrids, the push to upskill workers in today's tight talent market is strong.
Governments likewise have a stake in workforce development, and have been taking action. In recent months, state and local governments have rolled out various initiatives aimed at upskilling citizens. And at the federal level, lawmakers introduced legislation that would incentivize employers to hire and retain workers, especially those who face barriers to employment. The bill would also subsidize training costs.
Workers appear hungry for learning, but often, employers aren't keeping up. Recent data shows some movement, however. Both budgets and interest by leadership for learning programs is on the rise, according to a recent report from LinkedIn Learning, and more employers are working to implement a culture of learning to stay relevant in a challenging marketplace.
Colleges and universities play a role, too, by coming together with employers to identify the skills needs in their local and regional markets and find ways to address them through new or existing curriculum.
Institutions are beginning to think more broadly about their role in helping retrain workers, and as a result are expanding their offerings to help higher education become a "revolving door" through which students can come and go as they add new skills, said Nicole Smith, chief economist at the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce, during a panel discussion about higher ed and workforce partnerships this week.