The following article is sponsored by LDS Business College.
If you’ve turned on the news any time in the last half-decade, you already know that employment in the United States continues to be a hot-button topic among politicians, television newscasters and everyday citizens.
This isn’t without reason; in recent years, the national unemployment rate has been a volatile number, as high as 10.2 percent in October 2009 to, recently, a more moderate (but not historically low) rate of 6.3. With many Americans still out of work, businesses should have the pick of the litter when seeking new employees, right?
Not so much. Unfortunately, along with a less-than-stellar unemployment rate also comes an under-skilled workforce. In fact, according to Forbes, 45 percent of U.S. employers blame the number of entry-level vacancies across the nation on a lack of skills. Not to mention that 42 percent of global employers do not consider new college graduates to be adequately prepared for a career.
This career-education gap is no different in Utah, where a Georgetown University study shows that, by 2020, 66 percent of the state’s workforce will need college degrees or advanced certificates to compete for jobs. Currently, just 45 percent of Utah adults currently have an associate’s or higher degree — leaving the state with a 20-percent skills gap.
On a national level, the information age and new trends in virtual business practices have led to a new market environment. Harvard University predicts that by 2018 only 33 percent of the jobs in the United States will require a four-year degree. That said, the majority of positions — 57 percent — will require middle-skills training and credentials, or an associate’s degree. What’s more, many of these skilled labor positions come with higher salaries than those requiring four-year degrees.
With a skills crisis occurring in the marketplace and a new importance on skills certificates and associate’s degrees, training colleges are becoming an important part of the education and employment market. These institutions — offering a variety of specialized training and certificates for careers and trades like paralegal training, business entrepreneurship, financial management, professional sales, medical coding and assisting, interior design, and database administration — offer the skills needed for the 57 percent of jobs that Harvard predicts will require a middle-skills certificate or associate’s degree.
LDS Business College, which grants associate’s degrees and skills certificates, is currently addressing the growing need for skilled workers in Utah’s employment market.
“We are committed to help close the education gap that exists by preparing our students to successfully enter the work force in just two years with an AAS degree,” said J. Lawrence Richards, president of the College. “We work closely with employers to offer job training programs focused on serving their needs. In turn, those businesses help us by hiring our graduates.”
Along with extensive certificate and degree programs, the college recently partnered with Davis Applied Technology College to broaden its course offerings. Finding a job post-graduation should be easier than ever for LDS Business College grads, since the college opened an LDS Employment Resource Center right on campus.
The center offers free services including job posting, resume classes, practice interviews and other career services.
In Utah — and throughout the United States — education is still the key to a successful career. But education alone is not enough; closing the gap means gaining the skills and training that the new face of the employment market really demands.