Employment and Jobs

An Autumn Update on Upskilling

December 18, 2018  • UpSkill America & Jaime S. Fall

2018 was a busy year for upskilling. Over the past 12 months, scores of employers have expanded their offerings, and countless employees have gained new opportunities to advance. This year alone, we’ve made three major revisions to our UpSkilling Playbook for Employers, including in winter, spring, and summer. As we near the end of 2018, we’re proud to share one last set of updates from the fall. Although the calendar year is winding down, the upskilling movement continues apace. Here is a selection of highlights from the past few months.

  • This year, Discover Financial Services launched the Discover College Commitment, which gives employees the opportunity to earn a college degree for free. Jon Kaplan, Vice President of Training and Development, wrote a blog post explaining why the company made this important investment in its employees.
  • As of 2018, more than 350,000 employees have earned a credential through IBM’s digital credential program. Launched in 2015, the program aims to boost skills, engagement, and inclusivity. As the company describes, “IBM digital credentials are an integral component of the organization’s training and recognition approach and are used to create skill heat maps that identify existing talent pools to quickly ramp up new technology initiatives.” Click here to learn more.
  • JetBlue received accolades for its JetBlue Scholars program, which gives employees the opportunity to earn an associate or bachelor’s degree with JetBlue covering most of the cost. The program was named a winner of the U.S. Department of Education’s “2018 Reimagining the Higher Education Ecosystem Challenge.” Click here to read more.
  • Mastercard interviewed our own Jaime Fall (Director, UpSkill America) to discuss how companies use upskilling to advance their workers and businesses. The conversation was featured on the podcast “Fortune Favors the Bold,” a partnership between Mastercard and Gimlet Creative. Click here to listen.
  • Partners Healthcare created an upskilling certification program—in conjunction with College for America—to “help their employees enhance their skills, keep up with changing job expectations, and even get promoted.” Dena Lerra, Program Manager in the Workforce Development Department at Partners Healthcare, spoke with Melissa Goldberg, Director of Workforce Insights at Southern New Hampshire University, to discuss the partnership. Click here to listen.
  • The Retail Opportunity Network interviewed our own Jaime Fall (Director, UpSkill America) to discuss how upskilling programs benefit frontline workers and their employers and provide insights from the latest upskilling programs across America. The conversation was featured on the third episode of RON’s podcast “Retail America: Pathways to Opportunity.” Click here to listen.
  • Last month, we released a survey asking about your new and expanded upskilling programs. We received dozens of replies from companies across a wide variety of regions and industries. Your responses were enormously helpful in assessing the state of upskilling in 2018. Thank you for your input! We’re proud to share some findings in our 2018 year in review, available here.


Employment and Jobs
Upskilling Year in Review 2018
December 19, 2018 • UpSkill America & 1 more


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UpSkill America is an employer-led movement that promotes training and advancement practices to help workers progress in their careers and move into better-paying jobs. UpSkill America is an initiative of the Economic Opportunities Program.

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