- As the company expands, Guild Education announced it will form an advisory board to "help drive insights to the future of work," according to the June 15 announcement.
- Representatives from private companies as well as universities comprise the board, including the president of Spelman College, the CPO of Pinterest, the former chief learning officer of McDonald's, the CEO and president of the Ad Council and the former undersecretary of education at the U.S. Department of Education.
- The education platform, which partners with employers to provide workers with low-cost access to degrees and learning opportunities, has particularly aligned with community colleges and historically Black colleges and universities to forward its mission for "equitable student outcomes and economic mobility for diverse populations," according to the announcement.
Guild Education has seen considerable expansion in offerings in recent months. In April, Waste Management announced that it was partnering with Guild to offer its workers access to degrees and certificate programs — and that it would be expanding that benefit to employees' dependents, as well.
Guild has also agreed to offer certification programs from Google on its platform, the companies announced in March, speaking to the platform's growing reach. The advisory board was created partly in response to that growth, Rachel Carlson, Guild's CEO and co-founder, told HR Dive in an email.
"We serve a broad group of stakeholders at Guild and we wanted to make sure we represent them all," Carlson said. "That was even more important with the events of the last year or so — not just the pandemic, but also the nation's reckoning on racism, the flips from unemployment to the war for talent, and the quiet but aggressive increase in automation that we’re seeing across frontline jobs."
Education benefits have emerged as one way for employers to retain workers and develop a future-proof workforce, especially through disruptions caused by the pandemic. Women have been particularly hard hit by job disruption; at the end of 2020, almost all jobs lost in the December report had been held by women, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
"Today, we are living a tale of two economies," Carlson said. "In one economy, there's a war for talent and leaders are under pressure to recruit and retain employees. As baby boomers and women are leaving the workforce in droves, we are seeing the lowest labor force participation rate as in the 1970s."
The restaurant industry, for example, is struggling to rebound due in part to a lack of jobs filled. And for those that have seen success, employee development has been at the forefront, experts said — be it through internal cross-training, clear career paths or free degree offerings.