Three years ago we held the first Close It Summit, here at The Capital Hilton in Washington, DC. Since then, the conversation around demand driven models, competencies and “closing the skills gap” has matured tremendously, yet, we are still in the infancy of a national/international change agenda. Just last week I was involved in the Lumina Foundation’s Connecting Credentials Summit. The event was very rewarding and included many thought leaders that are here with us at Close It.
Critical priorities identified by leaders at the Connecting Credentials Summit included: employer buy in, employer adoption of credentials, creating a common language around credentials, strengthening measurement of competencies and creating collaborative employer models that are new and scalable, while not creating market confusion.
So, why is Close It 2015’s theme DEMAND MORE? Because we must demand more. Not only from the demand side (employers), but from policymakers (State and Federal), educators, industry associations, foundations and young adults (who have a critical voice in the change agenda).
Last week I received an email from Bob, based in Virginia. He has incredible experience in IT, with multiple certifications. He asked for our help.
He said, “I am getting passed up because I do not have the “right” degree, am either overqualified or under-qualified, because I do not have the “right” experience, or because I have too many employment gaps. I have incredibly high WorkKeys® scores but no employers are using these, only the workforce center. Is there anyone I can talk to, programs that I can apply to, or anything else I can do (like online training via a MOOC or Khan Academy) to take that last step and get hired? The workforce development offices here seem to think I’m crazy for wanting to do this – mostly all that they seem to be able to do is talk about going back to school and hand out financial aid applications. They seem to short-circuit if you go off-script.”
Here’s to demanding more….for Bob and so many others like him.