Mobilizing Employers to Upskill their Employees
Chambers of commerce and their business communities play a critical role in helping to close the skills gap in their communities. This page features examples of how chambers and organizations across the nation are mobilizing employers in their community to implement programs and policies, such as tuition assistance programs and flexible work policies, that encourage degree, certificate and credential completion among working adults. These examples also highlight how employers who invest in the growth and development of their employees can boost employee productivity and retention while improving the economic vitality of their region.
Chambers Mobilizing Employers to Upskill their Employees
- Greater Spokane Incorporated (Wash.) (GSI) has developed an employer-led pilot program that provides access to nine GSI member business employees to learn more about their education level, post-secondary interests and the barriers they may face when completing their postsecondary aspirations. GSI also distributed a survey to these employees, which identified existing opportunities in postsecondary degree policies and programs, and enabled GSI to more effectively leverage its partnership with higher education institutions and The Graduate! Network to develop strategies that re-engage the adult population.
- The Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce recently released Investing in a Skilled and Educated Workforce—Win-Win Solutions for America’s Talent Crisis, a report that explores current trends in business policies and practices that facilitate employee postsecondary credential and degree attainment. Findings pave a path towards developing economically beneficial solutions for businesses and employees.
- Metro South Chamber of Commerce (Mass.) led Careers in Health, a program which helped entry and advanced level health care employees who sought career and workplace advancement attain the required higher education, certification, or licensure they needed to advance their career.
- The Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce (Tenn.) works with the Middle Tennessee Reconnect Community, a local organization dedicated to supporting every adult in the region who aspires to earn a college degree. Their main initiative is to help adults enter higher education to gain new skills and advance in the workplace. The Middle Tennessee Reconnect Community has created an “Employer Toolkit,” which highlights best practices throughout the region and provides a framework for implementing new workplace practices that support expanding education to help guide employees back to college. Download the entire toolkit.
- The St. Louis Regional Chamber launched Degrees That Work, a program designed to support employers in creating workplace conditions that facilitate degree attainment. The chamber has also partnered with The Graduate! Network and Council for Adult and Experiential Learning to develop an Employer Toolkit that support businesses as they accelerate the process of helping their employees pursue further education. See more about the chamber's Public Policy & Advocacy work including Education Attainment and Talent Development.
Organizations Supporting Post-Secondary Education Degree Attainment Among Working Adults
- College for America partners with employers from across the country to bring flexible, accredited, and affordable degree opportunities to employees looking to develop skills needed to advance their degrees. The online programs are designed to be immediately applicable to the workplace and have seen 9 out of 10 graduates stay with their current employer.
- The Graduate! Network supports collaboration amongs regional higher education, business, government and labor sectors to enhance or add services that position comebackers (i.e. adults returning to college) to complete degrees. The Graduate Network! approach is adaptable to the workforce and higher education landscape of any local community and designed for large scale impact.
- Lumina Foundation, a national foundation focused on increasing postsecondary attainment partnered with Cigna to design a study, Talent Investments Pay Off, to analyze Cigna’s Education Reimbursement Program (ERP). The study found that every dollar the company puts into the program is returned and generates a 129 percent return on investment.
- Tennessee Reconnect, an initiative of the State of Tennessee, helps adults pursue higher education opportunities to gain new skills, advance in the workplace, and fulfill lifelong dreams of completing a degree or credential. The initiative has developed three step-by-step guides, which are designed to help adults who are going to college for the first time, returning to college to finish a degree and enrolling in college as a veteran and service member.
- UpSkill America, an employer-led movement to expand opportunity for America’s workers and help economies and communities thrive, promotes training and advancement practices for employers to help workers progress in their careers and move into better-paying jobs.
- The Upskill America movement is aligned with the President’s Upskill initiative, led by Joe Biden. The White House produced a report outlining the need, trends, and strategies for upskilling and a summary of over a hundred specific commitments made by companies towards upskilling their employees.
Convention & Seminar Resources
- Investing in the Higher Education of Incumbent Employees - Presentation by Alisha Benson, CCE, IOM, Vice President, Education & Workforce, Greater Spokane Incorporated (Wash.); Alison van Dam, IOM, Vice President, Metro South Chamber of Commerce (Mass.). From the 2016 ACCE Annual Convention.
Webinars & ACCE U Resources
Learn more about ACCE's Education & Talent Development Division
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| Mobilizing Employers to Upskill their EmployeesLast Updated: 7/27/2018