Labor Day in the United States is a public holiday celebrated on the first Monday in September. It honors the American labor movement and the contributions that workers have made to the strength, prosperity, laws and well-being of the country.
Workforce development, an American approach to economic development, it attempts to enhance a region’s economic stability and prosperity by focusing on people rather than businesses. It essentially develops a human-resources strategy.
Workforce development is the foundation of the strength of American labor and has laid the groundwork for the industrial and technology revolution in our country across many generations. Over time, we as Americans have always been the leader in new technology advancements and our employee workforce development.
In today’s highly technological environment, globalization is creating more competition in research and development causing new technologies to develop faster than ever. This is a factor that is creating tremendous pressure on colleges, universities and workforce development organizations to keep up with the technology.
In addition, the caveat to this problem is the way we communicate and market globally in meeting the skills-gap in higher education. Especially to the generation of students and new business leaders who now look to get engaged, make choices and make their decisions over the Internet. Currently, enormous sums of budgeted monies are shifting to digital media and with companies that are going are “all in,” colleges and universities will be under tremendous pressure to develop digital strategies for not only online training programs but also how they promote and interactively communicate, connect and retain students and customers. This is a different caveat and challenge that our higher educational institutions are faced with and their success will depend on whether their functional experts really know what they’re talking about and how to execute this strategy.
So as we go into the Labor Day holiday, let’s make effort to come together to collaborate continuously with our technology and marketing partners on building new innovative programs our workforce needs and to be able to effectively and efficiently share these accomplishments to a new generation of students and business leaders. Accomplish that, and we’ve paved a direct route to workforce success in the American labor movement.
Have a wonderful Labor Day!
I wanted to share a story about Charlie, a 62 year old technician from a large Fortune 20 telecom company. At the time, Charlie told me he couldn’t retire soon because he recently took custody of his grandson. So Charlie signed up for a Community College certification course through his company that was customized program to help install, troubleshoot and connect computers onto the company’s new fiber-optic network. This was a 16 week class, meeting 2 days week for 3 hours per session. It was both a theory and hands-on based class.
I met Charlie when he registered for the program and I constantly checked in on the class to see how the class was going and how Charlie was doing. Well, Charlie loved the course and his instructor told me Charlie was the best performer in the class, always arrived early and most of the time took all of his computer equipment home with him. Also, his positive enthusiasm towards learning actually was infectious throughout the whole class. In fact, the instructor wished he had his on-going energy and positive outlook!
At the end of the training, the college would celebrate with a small graduate ceremony. We would invite both the college’s senior staff and the client’s staff to congratulate the technicians for the successful completion of the program. Each person would come to the podium to receive their certificate of achievement.
When Charlie’s name was mentioned, Charlie walked up to the podium and asked if he could speak a few words to the audience. Charlie spoke about his grandson being in and out of juvenile detention centers, nobody caring for him, always in trouble and never was interested in anything. When Charlie was bringing his books and equipment home, he noticed his son started to take an interest in what he was doing. He started learning about computer hardware, operating systems and networking with Charlie. He stopped going out and started to work with Charlie in repairing and maintaining computers…
In registering for this course, Charlie, never in his wildest dreams thought his grandson would have any interest in computers and he was so proud of how a course like this helped to create a wonderful bond at this stage of his life! This meant more to him than the actual training and certificate he received.
Today, Charlie is semi-retired and works for his grandson who owns a computer repair and maintenance store in Tampa, FL…
Here’s a summary of the AIDA Survey and Benchmark Results – Executive Summary of the groundbreaking research done by The Learning Strategy, Inc.
College and Customer gap analysis that includes Awareness, Interest, Desire and Action (AIDA) in the degree and workforce development area.
Please contact The Learning Strategy, Inc for the full report and scheduling any pre-conference workshops on this topic.
Our colleges play an important role in educating our students and adult learners. There are four (4) groups of people that higher education positively impact:
- Young people who are coming out of school looking for good jobs.
- Unemployed people that have learned a new skill and are looking for good jobs.
- Under skilled people who have improved their credentials and are looking for good jobs.
- Incumbent workers who are currently employed and are trying to grow into a better job.
All four (4) of these conditions revolve around the student, higher education providers and the hiring customer (i.e. employers, organizations). It’s sort of the “build great programs, educate students and employers will come.”
We found out in some cases this is true, however in most cases it is not. In today’s competitive environment, students and adult learners are being consulted by colleges and workforce agencies about the degrees and certifications that will lead to more or better jobs with employers. Yet employers are not participating in the process and many aren’t even aware about the talent that is available. This could more of a marketing problem than it is a talent problem.
For example, when we get the opportunity to talk with employers or organizations, most of them aren’t aware of the college’s capabilities and how they can help them achieve their company goals and objectives. Below are some of these capabilities that employers are excited to meet about:
- Workforce Development – Only 24% of the employers we surveyed in 2016 are familiar with workforce development, contract training and continuing education programs. They want to know more….
- Online Programming – Larger enterprise employers are constantly looking for cutting-edge, interactive online programs – programs they can license with and make available on their Learning Management System (LMS). They want to know more….
- Co-Branded, Instructional Design and Curriculum Development – Employer’s need good curriculum designers especially for new, state-of-the-art products and services. They want to know more….
- Foundations – What a great way for employers to get involved and contribute to a great cause – Educational Scholarships! They want to know more….
- Job Recruiting – Believe it or not, most employers we talk with are not aware of things like job fairs, employer recruitment pools and who to contact. They want to know more….
- Employer Tuition Assistance – For those employers who have tuition assistance programs, many colleges and universities are not participating and many are not aware that non degree certificates may be part of these programs. They want colleges to participate…
- Federal, State or Local Workforce Training Grants – For employers or students that need assistance, most are not aware of what is available to them and how to apply.
- Events – When we talk with employers about college hosted events, many want to participate and sponsor. They want to know more….
Put the power of your college to work and ask us how we’re helping some of the world’s most successful employers and organizations engage with their colleges and universities – and how we can help to do the same for you.
General Dynamics, NYC Department of Corrections, Interactive One, Verizon Safety and Environmental Health, Nestle Waters, The Highlands, Regional Transportation Authorities, Foursquare, Equinox, B-Reel, CPXI, Coca-Cola, Avtron Aerospace, Hyland Software, Jergens, Vitamix Corp, Forum Energy Technologies, Lasco Enterprises, Chevron Phillips Chemical Co., Valero Energy, CST Brands and many, many more….
The brutal truth is 75% of resume applicants are reviewed. Most resume content fail to meet the criteria needed get in the hands of decision makers, i.e. networking directly with the company you’re applying too.
You have likely applied to and uploaded dozens of resumes only to hear nothing back. Recruiters generally refer to this as the “Resume Black Hole” Lots of resumes go in and most never come back.
First it is important to understand how the process works. At the center of the “Resume Black Hole” problem is a piece of technology called an Applicant Tracking System (ATS). The ATS was designed to streamline the flow of applicants for companies. If you are applying to jobs online and uploading your resume, it is surely landing in an ATS.
ATS’s are inaccurate. 25% to 33% of all resumes are imported with errors and inaccurate information. ATS screen and rank your resume against open positions. If you are missing keywords or have a low “Skill to Keyword Ratio” you will be avoided.
Resumes that pass the ATS screen are generally sent to a gatekeeper, the first “human” who looks at your resume. He or she spends about 30 seconds reading the resume before they decide to move it along to a Company Recruiter or Hiring Manager. So getting your resume directly in the hands of the Hiring Manager or Recruiter is a desired outcome but requires a significant amount of preparation and accuracy in meeting the front end of this highly digital screening process.
When employers think of a Community College, they usually think of a place for a student to receive a quality two year education at an affordable price. My experience talking with business executives about colleges in their local community is almost always favorable – “I received my 2-year degree at a community college or my son or daughter received their 2 year degree.” Employers know what community colleges do in benefiting a student’s academic needs in the communities they serve.
What many students and employers are not aware of are how community colleges can directly impact their career development and business performance. Community college capabilities include customized employee training programs, continuing education, lifelong learning, access to business grants, tuition assistance planning, co-sponsoring events, being a foundation board member, participating in student – employer pools, career fairs and many other value-added partnership programs. All of the above help employers improve efficiencies, employee morale, exposure in the community and most importantly, their bottom-line.
Marketing budgets can be a challenge and resources can be limited for community colleges, however below are eight (8) cost effective tips to rethink your marketing and business outreach efforts:
Testing and Analytics – Stop guessing if you need a new website or if you can improve your existing website. Employer and student first impression of you website can ultimately impact engagement and conversion. Always test and analyze your design structure and navigational flow of information. The benefit of continuous testing and monitoring is more practical and less expensive rather that making major overhauls.
LMS Analysis – If you want to make an employer feel like a strategic partner, they must feel that way across all departments in the college. For example, if they invested in your foundation, you better make sure you treat them well if they’re interested in Contract Training. This builds positive employer awareness of the college and you’ll see more of an investment in other programs and services that you provide. Analyze the feasibility of communicating between your website – automation – LMS.
Make it easy to reach you – If an employer is viewing your website about something they’re interested in, automate their interests to the right person or department. I remember one employer accessed our main website who wanted a corporate group leadership program and it took 4-5 attempts until they found the right sub domain address…. Also, if they send you a lead form, return their request by the end of the day.
Be proactive – Don’t wait for an employer to contact you. Be proactive, send 4-5 blogs, videos, campaigns, events, sponsorships and or news every week. In today’s competitive market, you can’t wait until someone contacts you. Take advantage of your good reputation, you are special and employers love to hear from your college and learn about what’s new and how you can work together.
Get employers involved, for free – Ask them to volunteer for events like Kids College Day, Lunch n Learns, Advisory Councils, Speaking engagements. Employers enjoy giving back to the community and sharing a day with college students and faculty.
Brainstorm with Employers – Brainstorm and think of cross promotional ideas to present to the community. Finding that synergy between business and education that really taps into community trust and involvement.
Reporting and Measurements – Are you effectively driving SEO traffic to your website, are you converting that traffic, are you registering more students? During your requirements gathering, your goals need to be identified, measured and reported.
Go Mobile – More and more students (Gen Z & Y) and employers are going mobile in their interactions and expect the same from their educational partners. Make it easy for employers and students to connect, register and learn through mobile applications.
Community colleges need a flexible website that will allow them to attract more employers and students, update content easily, provide a great mobile experience and give them insights behind their course registrations, enrollments, campaigns and events.
The Learning Strategy has been working with colleges and employers for 15 years and we look forward in using our experience in optimizing community college websites, coordinating and building partnerships between our colleges, businesses and the workforce investment system – creating pathways in workforce improvement, student internships and job placement.
bHarmony – Happy Valentine’s Day!
Since it’s Valentine’s Day, I only thought it to be appropriate to discuss the bHarmony concept – a service concept within the business industry to combine a scientific and human approach connecting colleges, businesses and non-profits together. The bHarmony idea is based on both the buyer’s and seller’s interest.
Traditional Internet search can be challenging for organizations who are looking for customized solutions. But bHarmony is not just a technology platform. It should be converged with your human network in meeting and contracting with organizations who want and many times are excited to meet with you! What does that mean?
Japan calls it a “keiretsu” a family of businesses and organizations. These families may include a college, a manufacturing company, a bank, a transportation company and distribution companies that develop plans to conduct business with one another. Keiretsu – strategic partnerships among several companies and organizations rather than between just two. We help to bridge those relationships together. Jeff Roth, President
The bHarmony concept are organizations that are committed to find, select and approach new customers every day… With over one hundred thousand businesses, colleges and non-profits, we are confident there are plenty of needs and wants.
bHarmony starts by narrowing the field of thousands of leads to determine a select group of potential ideal customers with whom you can build a quality relationship.
Establishing bHarmony is more comprehensive that just a leads database or CRM system, and we believe our success speaks for itself. When you define and select student and/or prospect characteristics and match them to your ideal customer profile, you will increase those relationships using targeted valid business reasoning, applying thought provoking content/creative and digital marketing by standing out in the “eyes of the beholder.” Sounds simple, but it’s harder than you think.
So on Valentine’s Day start finding, selecting and meeting with someone who you want to develop long term relationships with.