The continued growth of the skills gap in the U.S. is a problem for many companies looking to hire top talent — and the reality is, organizations now need to consider how they can help shape candidates into the workers they need. But to do this, companies must commit to retaining and educating workers.
Is your organization ready to take steps toward bridging the skills gap? Here are four lessons derived from real-life employers focused on education, training, and experience to keep in mind:
Invest in Education
When his core team of animators started aging, Walt Disney needed a new crop of workers who knew the practical, hands-on skills needed to make animated movies but also had classical skills. The problem he faced, however, was that traditional art schools were unlikely to produce what Disney needed for its blockbuster animated features.
To jump this skills gap, he set up the Character Animation Program, a new school created from two small arts schools in which retired Disney animation artists taught students. This allowed Disney to handpick graduates for job openings each year, and possibly saved the company from going under due to lack of talent.
Takeaway: If graduates aren’t coming to you with the skills they need, find a way to offer the skills training that existing programs lack. TWEET THIS
Pull Talent from Untapped Places
Inspired by Big Brother, Year Up challenges urban young adults to be professional, work hard, and do everything they need to do to start their careers at great companies.
Its founder and CEO, Gerald Chertavian, recognized the disconnect between the large amount of vacancies businesses have and the lack of opportunities and support afforded to young men and women in low-income areas. With the Year Up program, students receive hands-on skill development, college credits, and corporate internship experience, while companies can build a diverse pipeline of motivated talent.
Takeaway: Put aside your preconceptions about where your ideal candidates exist; instead, open your mind to the unique and unusual resources that haven’t been tapped. TWEET THIS
Fund and Support Your Community
When Randall Stephenson became CEO of AT&T in 2007, he planned on adding 5,000 U-Verse installers. The problem? He couldn’t find enough skilled workers to do the job. This led him to start the AT&T Aspire Foundation, which focuses on raising graduation rates through community grants and mentorship.
In 2013, the foundation boasted more than 5.3 million employee and retiree volunteer mentor hours, and gave more than $130 million in corporate, employee, social investment and foundation programs.
Takeaway: Use your existing resources to give back to your community and nurture potential future talent in the process. TWEET THIS
Go Global, But Think Local
Cummins Inc., a global power leader that designs, manufactures, sells, and services diesel engines and related technology, recognized there were limited pathways to good jobs — and a growing skills gap in its own communities — and tackled this issue head-on with its Technical Education for Communities (TEC) program.
This global initiative offers local vocational education programs and a standardized education program focused on a market-relevant curriculum, teacher training, career guidance, and practical experience.
Each site, whether it’s in Morocco, Nigeria, China, Turkey, or the U.S., has a TEC manager and a local site team who work together to conduct a community needs assessment and determine the skills gaps in the local market. The team then identifies potential school and industry partners to work with to improve the education outcomes and job prospects of the students.
Takeaway: Think big about how you can help close the skills gap, while still considering specific needs of your candidates and local area. TWEET THIS
What other companies are helping to close the skills gap? Share below!
About the Author: Josh Tolan is the CEO of Spark Hire, a video interview solution used by more than 2,000 companies across the globe. Learn more about using video interviewing to jump the skills gap and connect with Spark Hire on Facebook and Twitter.
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