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The Shifting Dynamics of Workforce Training & Education (2020)

By Yzabelle Dela Cruz

We are currently experiencing a large transition to remote work and distance learning in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. On June 30th, Valley Vision hosted a webinar looking at how this shift is occurring in the Capital region by sharing polling responses on perceptions of online education, current and innovative strategies, and opportunities and challenges to online delivery.  This webinar was the second in a series of three looking at the Future of Work.  Our first webinar included the release of the Automation Risk for Jobs in the Capital Region report with corresponding findings, recommendations, and panel discussion.  This second looked at The Changing Dynamics of Workforce Education and Training.  Our third Future of Work webinar will look at Impacts of the Gig Economy.  

The Changing Dynamics of Workforce Education and Training webinar began with Valley Vision’s CEO Evan Schmidt and Shannon Williams, Executive Director of the Institute for Social Policy at CSU Sacramento, sharing information from our Workforce and Education Poll conducted pre-COVID which looked at attitudes on education and workforce development opportunities in the region.  This is the fifth poll Valley Vision has conducted in conjunction with Institute for Social Policy and yielded the following key takeaways:

  • One third of workers is employed in a different industry than what they were trained to do
  • Two-thirds of workers overall are ready to learn new skills or retrain completely
  • 57% of respondents would like access to more formal education and training
  • Respondents who had used online education had a more positive view of it
  • 92% of respondents perceived online education as having better or equal value for the money as traditional education

In live polling conducted during the webinar, the audience was asked if they believe online will be a more significant delivery system post COVID recovery with 92% reporting yes.  We then moved to a panel discussion including Sonali Joshi, Chief Operating Officer at Cell-Ed; Jenni Murphy, Dean of Continuing Education at CSU Sacramento, and Markus Geissler, Professor and Regional Director, Employer Engagement, Information & Communication Technologies/Digital Media, California Community Colleges, Greater Sacramento Region.  We received the following key insights from our panelists:

  • Online delivery allows for scheduling flexibility, individuals can learn around their professional schedule and family obligations
  • ESL students can show significant benefit from online delivery 
  • Introverts do very well in an online environment as the dynamics of who speaks up and who dominates are absent
  • The ability to self-pace or repeat/review instruction is a benefit of online delivery
  • Online education and training provides the opportunity for targeted, personalized instruction
  • Young people have technical skills but not the discipline of teaching themselves which comes from maturity
  • Online education is pushing our boundaries of professionalism and how to build connection
  • Panelists discussed successful hybrid approaches including pairing with a coach

Valley Vision’s poll demonstrated the region’s significant interest in continued learning and training which matches the increasing need for training and upskilling as workplace and workforce needs continue to change.  It also captured the population’s high degree of willingness to adapt to new learning systems.  It will be important to continue to use and invest in online learning platforms to provide accessible, ongoing skill development as our workplaces continue to evolve.  The current accelerated online environment is pushing us into a new innovation space, challenging us, and creating opportunities to embrace the Future of Work.

You can access the full webinar here.

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