Companies Find Ways to Bridge Skills Gap

Kathy Gurchiek By Kathy Gurchiek March 19, 2019

​JPMorgan Chase & Co. will be infusing its New Skills at Work initiative with an additional $350 million over the next five years, the New York City-based company announced March 18. It is the global financial-services firm's latest effort to address the global skills gap and prepare workers with in-demand skills.

"The new world of work is about skills, not necessarily degrees," said CEO Jamie Dimon. "Unfortunately, too many people are stuck in low-skill jobs that have no future and too many businesses cannot find the skilled workers they need. We must remove the stigma of a community college and career education, look for opportunities to upskill or reskill workers, and give those who have been left behind the chance to compete for well-paying careers today and tomorrow."

The company started the global workforce training program for underserved populations in 2013 with $250 million.

Over the past five years, JPMorgan has given $50 million to community colleges with an eye toward designing curriculum that is aligned with employers' needs for jobs of the future. The company calls community colleges "the largest job-training providers in most U.S. communities."

The latest initiative will focus on two key approaches—creating economic opportunity and career mobility and identifying and forecasting future workplace skills at JPMorgan Chase. The $350 million will be used to pilot innovative education and training programs aligned with high-demand digital and technical skills, help strengthen education and training systems that are aligned with future business needs, identify and forecast future workplace skills, and develop and disseminate related labor market research.

Other organizations also have stepped up to address the skills gap around the world. SHRM Online has collected the following articles on this topic from its archives and from other news outlets.

The Skills Gap 2019

An exploratory study on the current state of the skills gap, including what skills employers feel are most lacking, how businesses are addressing the issue and which remedies have been most effective.

(SHRM Research)

Scaling Up Skills

Employers are adopting a multipronged approach to drive workforce development. The Hershey Co., for example, partnered with the Shenandoah Valley Workforce Development Board in 2018 to encourage young people to seek careers in manufacturing and develop a future workforce. And General Motors runs a career re-entry program called Take 2.

(SHRM Online)

Preparing Workers for the New Economy

A Virginia grant program is leading to increased credentials and wages for participants.

According to Virginia's Community Colleges (VCCS), about 4,500 Virginians have used New Economy Workforce Credentials Grants to earn credentials in nearly 40 high-demand occupations.

"Businesses are lining up to hire workers with the right skills, and the salary increases are transforming the lives of Virginia families," said VCCS Chancellor Glenn DuBois.

The grants tie in with the FastForward program, which provides short-term training courses at community colleges. 

(American Association of Community Colleges)

Companies Seek to Fill Skills Gap by Retraining Their Own Workers

Companies in search of workers in today's tight labor market are increasingly training existing employees, seeking to improve internally the skills they need as the modern workplace becomes more digital.

(Wall Street Journal)

Companies Discover Investing in Workers as a Way to Keep Churn Low

In Wichita, Kan., aerospace companies like Textron and another Wichita company, Spirit AeroSystems, work with Wichita State University Tech to recruit entry-level workers. In addition to paying relocation costs, the program funds several weeks of schooling, provides a stipend and guarantees a job interview.

(Bridging America's Gap)

Q&A: Siemens' CEO Sees a Skills Gap in the U.S.

When industrial conglomerate Siemens couldn't find enough people with the skills it needed, it launched a program to build the workforce it wanted to hire. The highly structured apprenticeship program would pay people to learn new skills at a local college, and eventually move them into full-time jobs at the factory. It worked. 


What Employers Want: How to Bridge the Gap Between Employer Expectations and Employee Qualifications

Companies should open their minds to applicants who are obtaining skills outside of four-year degree programs, said Joseph Fuller, professor of management practice at Harvard Business School. And employees and employers should be considering alternative learning methods such as apprenticeships when it comes to skill development, according to Collin Gutman, head of skilled trades at Penn Foster. Liberty Mutual, for example, utilizes an immersive training method to upskill employees, including coding schools or online programs like Woz U.


Viewpoint: 5 Ways to Reimagine Education so We Start Bridging the Skills Gap

Technology is one of the industries most affected by the disconnect between what workers learn in school and what they need to know to be effective in their jobs. To prepare, we need to emphasize alternative skilling programs and we need to reimagine our current education system, whole-cloth.



[Visit SHRM's resource page on Workforce Readiness.]



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