Over the past 15 months, both employers and career-seekers have been forced to grapple with industry changes and instability. But in order to have a resilient workforce during the economic recovery, policy-makers and workforce development experts must work together to provide access to reskilling, training and education. The National Governors Association is leading a collaborative with several states, including Alabama and Hawaii, to “better connect employment seekers to work, education and other resources” (US News).
In Hawaii, they are focusing on digital literacy and training for basic digital skills, being pro-active to potential labor disruptions due to automation. The impacts of COVID-19 are no short list, but the implications of not having digital literacy skills or equitable digital access have been at the top of the COVID-19 list, as schools and workplaces turned to remote. However, those without basic digital skills fell even further behind and need literacy training more than ever before, with the systemic inequities growing even further. BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) “face higher unemployment rates, fewer opportunities to work remotely, and often are tracked into less rigorous education and career paths in part because they lack information” (Credential Engine).
In Alabama, the Governor’s Office of Education and Workforce Transformation has created a goal of adding 500,000 credentialed individuals to the state’s workforce by 2025. As our region’s workforce development experts, we know that short-term credentials lead to success in the workforce and it is often a quicker route to employment. Though, you don’t know what you don’t know.
Navigating through the credential marketplace can be confusing and lacks transparency. National Skills Coalition, a partner of Credential Engine, is fighting for credential transparency. Using more common, descriptive language, easier accessibility, and a registry that compares and evaluates credentials is their solution.
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