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At Markle we are deeply saddened and angered by the brutal killing of George Floyd, and by the many other atrocious acts of violence Black people have endured as a result of systemic and institutional racism and discrimination. We stand with others to condemn racism, discrimination and injustice. We all must listen and lay bare the history of abuse Black people have encountered, and empower all voices opposing racism. As an organization, we pledge to do more to support all people of color that are hurt in so many ways by racial discrimination and institutional barriers. We must do everything we can to fix the broken systems which have led to decades of inequality and racism in every realm, to help address the impact this has had on our neighborhoods and our country. We will expand our efforts, consistent with the enormity of the need for change, and work towards a better future with equal dignity for all.
Digital US, a national coalition focused on equipping all U.S. workers with essential digital skills by 2030, today released a report “Building a Digitally Resilient Workforce: Creating On-Ramps to Opportunity” that addresses the country’s digital literacy fault lines likely to worsen as a result of COVID-19. The report lays out a strategic approach to enable the digital fluency of individuals and companies by the end of the decade, which may prove to be a lynchpin in reskilling and economic recovery efforts following the fallout of the novel coronavirus. “Today, nearly every aspect of labor market participation is digital – from how we upskill and reskill and find and apply for employment, to how we accomplish daily workplace tasks; so it’s vital that we collaborate in new ways to ensure that all Americans have the ability to navigate in a digital environment and thrive in our modern economy,” said Priyanka Sharma with Digital US and coalition partner World Education. Basic digital fluency is a precursor to more advanced technical skills, and digital literacy is a necessary on-ramp to a livable wage and stable career. “We see first-hand, from our work on-the-ground in states across the US, the importance of helping workers gain new skills in order to get good jobs in the digital economy,” said Beth Cobert, CEO Skillful, a Markle initiative. “Making it quicker, easier and more affordable to acquire those skills is key to opening opportunities and helping our workforce adapt to the new economy.” Creating a workforce with the digital skills employers seek requires a holistic effort and ongoing investment.
Over the past two months, several countries across the world have experienced various forms of remote work and distance learning as governments were coming to grips with COVID-19. Quarantine, lockdown, shelter in place, countries gave this isolation different names, but this time was characterized by the same need to transform many businesses from retail to education. Tech CEOs have been very vocal about the amount of digital transformation they have supported their customers with. What was postponed or deemed impossible before was prioritized and executed. The more change we see, the harder it is to believe businesses will go back to how things were before this crisis. This "no going back" attitude is not just coming from the reality that COVID-19 will impact many in-person activities and spaces from open offices, to travel and events. The desire to change is also the result of seeing the positive impact digital transformation has on a business. The need to acquire new digital skills that better prepare the workforce for the workplace of the future might have accelerated during COVID19, but the writing has been on the wall for quite some time. Such a need to train and retrain affects the generations still in school as well as the current workforce. The current crisis is accelerating digital transformation, but it also has the potential to accelerate the digital divide. Just think of distance learning and the thousands of kids who did not have access to broadband or a device. Of course, this point only considers the technical aspect of the challenges many kids are facing when trying to learn under tremendous phycological stress as they deal with the impact COVID-19 is having on their day to day and their family. IBM's Executive Chairman, Ginni Rometty, coined the term "new collar" job years ago referring to roles in fields such as cybersecurity, cloud computing and artificial intelligence that don't always require a traditional degree. What these roles need is a new mix of skills that draws from different areas. These are the roles that Open P-TECH is focusing on because for Rometti, the issue is very straightforward: "IBM is a builder of technology it's our job also to prepare society interact with that technology. That's responsible stewardship," she said during Think 2020. IBM is not alone in thinking that the roles of the future might not require traditional degrees. In 2017, Microsoftannounced that it would give a grant to Skillful, a program that encourages skills-oriented job training. Some large tech companies like Apple and Google have stopped asking for college degrees for some of their technical roles.
Stimulus for American Opportunity, April 2020 Discussion Draft: Ideas for Rapid Acceleration of On-Line Learning This paper is intended to begin a broad discussion on what the Federal Government can do to help workers prepare for the rapidly changing labor market. It does not represent positions taken by the Markle Foundation or others. All comments are welcome.
An interview with a potential hire isn’t just a way to learn more details about their skills and experience — it’s a chance to have a conversation to ensure they’re the right fit for your organization. The questions you ask may change depending on the position being filled, the current job market and other factors. However, experienced interviewers have questions they always ask, no matter what — questions they know elicit information that gives real insight. We asked nine members of Denver Business Journal Leadership Trust to share one question they never skip when interviewing potential hires and why it has such a strong impact. 1. ‘What do those in the know say about you?’ I ask, “What would those who know you best say is your best attribute? And what would they say is a potential area for improvement?” Helping to reframe the applicant’s perspective in this way might assist them in helping you get to know them better. – Jason Dunn, CFA, DACS Asphalt & Concrete 2. ‘How have you approached objections to your ideas in the past?’ Good teamwork helps employees not only align to support the organizational strategy but also helps them cooperate and be supportive of one another. I typically ask them to tell me about a time when there were objections to or differences of opinion about their ideas. What did they do to convince the parties involved of their ideas, or how did they reach a compromise? What happened as a result? – Shannon Block, Skillful a Markle Initiative
The coronavirus outbreak is creating widespread suffering and uncertainty as the nation grapples with grave and interconnected challenges to our health and economy. We are a long way from returning to full employment. Missing in the planning to return to work is a response to a very fundamental challenge: how do we ensure that the return to economic activity better positions American workers for success – particularly those most profoundly hurt by this pandemic One key way to achieve this is to provide effective training to move to better jobs. The businesses that come back will not look like the businesses before, and that means disruption to the jobs that employers will fill.
Sometimes, managers encounter an employee who is talented but difficult to work with. They may have great intentions but are unable to follow through. Or perhaps they don’t take constructive criticism well and are unwilling to do what it takes to grow. As a business leader, you may have come face-to-face with this situation more than a few times. Below, seven Denver Business Journal Leadership Trust members share effective strategies that have helped them get a troubled employee back on track. 1. Have an honest conversation. The first step is better communication with the employee. I find I can have the conversation skillfully if I name the issue, give a specific example of the facts, describe my emotions about the issue, affirm the relationship and clarify what is at stake, identify my part in the problem, and request to resolve the situation. I then reflectively listen to what is going on from their perspective. — Shannon Block, Skillful a Markle Initiative
Older workers are a core part of the U.S. workforce, yet many face ongoing challenges related to age discrimination that we are failing to address. In a world where each generation is becoming healthier and more active in their later years, why are we letting this happen? According to AARP, about 25% of the U.S. workforce is 55 or older, and four out of five workers over 50 say they will have to delay their retirement well into their golden years. Research shows this will continue for years to come, and in Colorado alone, 23% of workers will be over the age of 55 by 2030. So how can we support this population of workers? Older job seekers may face a number of challenges less likely to negatively affect younger workers, such as a perception that they are too expensive to hire, that they are harder to retrain, that they may not perform as well as younger workers or that hiring someone from this demographic creates risks of employment discrimination claims. This ageism continues to exist, built on myths like these examples, even though studies have shown that older workers can be more conscientious and less absent and have better social skills than younger employees.
OKLAHOMA CITY — The Oklahoma Office of Workforce Development and Skillful, a Markle Foundation initiative, recently announced a partnership to help Oklahoma employers hire more effectively and create more opportunities for jobseekers. The partnership will provide training in skills-based practices through the Skillful Talent Series, an innovative program which creates a bridge between the workforce and economic development systems by helping employers identify the skills they need for a role and to recognize those skills in candidates, particularly workers without traditional academic credentials, such as a bachelor’s degree, who may otherwise be overlooked. “We hear from businesses every day that can’t find the workers they need. By supporting employers in adopting skills-based practices, we can dramatically increase the size of the recruitment pool available and help more Oklahomans find meaningful employment in industries critical to expanding the state’s economy. We are thrilled to bring this partnership with Skillful to Oklahoma and hope to expand these efforts in the coming year,” said Sean Kouplen, secretary of commerce and workforce development.