Across the country, businesses and investors are recognizing the value of investing in training and development programs for frontline workers. Here we are, just six weeks into 2018, and we have seen three encouraging signs that this upskilling movement is gaining momentum: businesses are creating and adopting new models of degree programs for their employees; investors are increasingly stressing the importance of employer investments in education and training; and programs are churning out positive results.
1. Businesses are adopting new college degree programs
Since releasing the UpSkilling Playbook for Employers last year, we have seen significant growth in the upskilling movement among businesses. Two of the most intriguing developments have been around the work employers are doing to provide access to learning for employees. Lyft and Brinker International recently announced education programs to help train and develop their workers. Lyft’s program gives drivers access to personalized college advising and tuition discounts for thousands of classes, certificates, and degrees from more than 80 online nonprofit universities and learning providers. Brinker International, owner of Chili’s Grill & Bar and Maggiano’s Little Italy, has partnered with Pearson to offer a comprehensive educational program for employees, called Best You EDU. This program is innovative in how it was specifically designed to eliminate as many barriers to educational attainment as possible: time, money, access, support, and foundational issues such as language and literacy.
To cover these exciting developments, we’ve updated the UpSkilling Playbook for Employers to include these new program updates.
2. Investors are stressing the importance of employer investments in education and training
In addition to businesses recognizing the importance of implementing upskilling programs, investors are also starting to look for them. In the UpSkilling Playbook for Employers, we listed Five Reasons You Should Care about Upskilling. Now, we have added a sixth: investors look for it.
Laurence Fink, the chairman and CEO of BlackRock, which manages well over $6 trillion in investments, sent a letter to more than 1,000 CEOs warning them that profits aren’t enough to succeed; companies need to have a positive impact on communities as well. In the letter, Fink warns companies employee development should not be sacrificed for short-term earnings. In many ways, this letter is another indication of a shift in public opinion. Increasingly, people expect the companies for which they work and with which they do business to be a positive force for societal good, including providing education, training, and development for current and potential workers. This is a critical development because it signals to companies that it is not only OK to invest in the education, training, and development of workers, it is preferred, and an important part of the long-term success of a company.
3. UpSkilling programs are churning out positive results
Over the past year, UpSkill America has tracked several upskilling programs that are now churning out positive results for frontline workers. Starbucks’ College Achievement Plan has now helped over 1,000 people earn their college degree. GEDWorks has helped over 2,000 frontline workers achieve that same goal. And Manpower has successfully expanded its MyPath Program. These successes highlight the powerful opportunities upskilling programs can provide for both businesses and their frontline workers.
Workers are increasingly seeking out and succeeding with upskilling programs. And businesses and investors are recognizing upskilling’s importance. These are encouraging signs that the upskilling movement is gaining, and will continue to gain, momentum in the months and years to come. For more information on these programs and the latest upskilling developments, check out the UpSkilling Playbook for Employers.