This year, employers came together with partner organizations ranging from governments to universities to nonprofits in the quest to boost employee development. Some made splashy announcements with their training initiatives and a number of localized grants and programs launched in an effort to fight persistent skills gaps.
To prepare employees for massive job change, these efforts will need successful models to build on. Effective models are exactly why Trilogy Education's rapidly growing coding boot camp model won HR Dive's 2019 award for best employee initiative.
Bridging skills gaps
A key element of building successful learning and development programs is anticipating an organization's future needs, experts told HR Dive earlier this year. And by several measures, coding skills are a key aspect of future strategy for organizations across the board.
Early 2019 data from LinkedIn show that among the five most in-demand skills on the platform, three involved aspects of programming and/or coding: cloud computing, artificial intelligence and UX design.
These types of jobs play directly to the strengths of Trilogy, a brand of education technology company 2U, which has partnered with several high-profile higher ed institutions to launch boot camps for adult learners in the past year.
"Employers are beginning to recognize that intensive, instructor-led boot camps are an effective way to provide the transformative learning that enables people to transition into critical new roles," Greg Calverase, chief operating officer at Trilogy, told HR Dive via email.
Trilogy coding boot camp programs launched in conjunction with Johns Hopkins University, the University of Oregon and the University of Connecticut, among others. The company also announced boot camps for other subjects, including two focused on fintech in partnership with Columbia University and Rice University. It says more than 3,000 employers employ graduates of its programs.
"In any given city across the country, the local university is often recognized as one of the most respected and impactful institutions," Calverase said. "They have an important role to play in helping their communities prepare for the new skills that employers require in an increasingly tech-driven economy."
Programming successful training
Part of the success behind the company's expansion is its focus on what matters most to the given geographic area each of its programs serves. For example, Baltimore, the area in which Trilogy's partnership with Johns Hopkins is located, had some 36,000 jobs requiring at least some coding ability go unfilled in 2018, the company said.
"The more important trend is that jobs are changing, and they're changing drastically," Calverase said. "For example, financial services professionals increasingly need to become advanced data scientists. Marketing professionals need to know how to code. Even if they aren't practitioners, workers in nearly all industries and professions benefit from a baseline knowledge of technology and data analytics."
Trilogy ensures a feedback loop is open to all of its students, who answer a set of questions each week about the pace of their course, the knowledge of their instructor, their feeling of mastery over that week's material and whether they feel supported in class, Calverase said. The company uses that data to make sure no one slips through the cracks.
"We've collected over 3 million data points from the student surveys that have helped us make over 700,000 curricula enhancements," Calverase said. "Anything we improve based on learnings at one university immediately helps improve the experience of students in hundreds of classrooms around the world."