By 2018, 63 percent of all jobs in America will require at least some postsecondary education. This fact is a sobering reality for the business community, given that the majority of working adults today do not possess a college degree or industry-recognized credentials. Faced with a persisting skills gap, best-practice companies are engaging in innovative Learn and Earn partnerships to support talent development practices to invest in the education and skills of their workforce. These partnerships play an important role in strengthening the competitiveness of our economy and our ability to compete in the increasingly complex global marketplace.
Corporate Voices for Working Families engages the business community in advancing talent development practices, postsecondary education completion and workforce readiness training through its Learn and Earn initiative. This initiative seeks to identify, promote and encourage innovative partnerships between employers, community colleges and higher education institutions to help today’s “working learners”—often low-income young adults—complete their education while working.
Educational and work-life supports for low-income young adults are critical today, as the rising cost of higher education and the need to work are challenging barriers to earning a degree. Today’s 21st century students have unique characteristics—they are likely to need to work, have dependents or are likely to be caregivers. Partnerships between employers and higher education institutions, therefore, can play a meaningful role in helping working learners balance work with school, finance their education and gain valuable credentials with labor market value.
For an overview of Corporate Voices’ Learn and Earn work, please read, A Talent Development Solution, which explores the business impact of Learn and Earn partnerships, offering examples from some of the nation’s leading corporations. This work is made possible by the generous support of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and its Postsecondary Success Strategy.