Two years after the SkillUp Coalition launched in the wake of the pandemic to assist workers displaced by sudden layoffs, the job market has shifted — and learning partnerships have proliferated.
Such partnerships have emerged as a key way to provide employers with a new source of talent and workers with a way to find their footing after unemployment. Even as the economy stabilized (though recession rumors are still spreading), learning programs have remained to help employers overcome worker shortages and connect with underserved talent.
"SkillUp has had to evolve over the past two years, and quickly,” SkillUp Executive Director Steve Lee said in a statement. “At the outset, it was about getting a job for the millions displaced by Covid. Now, we're laser-focused on our mission: to provide a guided and supported path to ensure every worker has high opportunity employment.”
Since the program began, SkillUp created 5,642 job placements; 29,650 referrals to employers; and $1,835,000 in scholarships and grants awarded to SkillUp workers, according to the nonprofit’s announcement.
Even amid the uncertainty of the pandemic, learning programs have maintained their momentum. A U.S. Chamber of Commerce study from May 2021 noted that employers planned to increase training budgets even after the pandemic pummeled the economy — but many HR pros also said in the survey that they would need guidance on which programs would work best.
That is often where such partnerships fill the gap, bringing together private and public programs to develop highly needed skills. One example: The Virginia Ready Initiative helped credential unemployed workers who could then be placed at partner companies, including Bank of America.