- Lane County, Oregon’s 16 school districts have partnered with local industry group Technology Association of Oregon (TAO) to form Elevate Lane County, a first-of-its-kind program in the state intended to create a more prepared and tech-savvy workforce by training local high school students, The Register-Guard reports.
- Over 100 high school students and a dozen educators have participated in tech firm tours and job shadowing programs. This past summer, 11 local high school teachers and one counselor spent almost 2,000 hours in “externships,” or summer work experiences in the tech field.
- Elevate Lane County launched in January to increase high school students' interest in tech careers, as well as expand opportunities to learn computer programming and other skills. In addition to keeping them engaged and enrolled at the high school level, the program hopes students who participate will be better prepared for college or work.
At this point, employers are well aware of the skills gaps plaguing job candidates in the U.S., yet the question of how to combat those gaps remains a debated topic within the HR industry.
Rather than relying on reskilling, upskilling or other monikers for employee training investment alone, leading organizations realize that creating interest in a given career path begins well before workers send in resumes. Partnerships with high schools and colleges have proven to be one of the more interesting developments in training over the past year.
It's gotten to the point that some tech firms have opened their own high schools in order to tap into a largely overlooked source of talent. General Electric made news in Boston for a $25 million investment in area schools with the aim preparing a new generation for STEM careers.
There are three fundamental ideas at play here: 1) STEM careers are in need of a rebrand, and employers know they play a part in this effort; 2) employers know that such programs are a boost to their employer brand, making them even more desirable to job seekers; and 3) you can't address the issue of skills without confronting an educational system that has ineffectively prepared young adults to enter the workforce.
It's for these reasons that we haven't seen the last of programs like Elevate Lane County.