- Walmart and Google have announced a $5 million grant for organizations that are testing reskilling solutions aimed at aligning workers' skills with employers' future roles.
- Recent research predicts that up to one-third of Americans will need to reskill by 2030. The funding will go to three groups working to prepare for that: the Drucker Institute, in partnership with South Bend, Indiana, [email protected] and the MIT Initiative on the Digital Economy.
- The companies are taking action (and doing so collaboratively) because no one organization can prepare the nation's workforce for this change alone, Walmart and Google executives wrote in a blog post. They also called for other employers to follow their lead, saying they "encourage other companies to join in similar efforts, through investing in training and education for their own workforce or in the broader workforce ecosystem to help build strong businesses and a healthy, thriving society."
The grant is neither Walmart's nor Google's first step in addressing the skills gap. Walmart recently funded almost $5 million in grants to address training gaps in retail management. And the Grow with Google initiative, announced last year, set aside $1 billion over a five year period to fund programs that boost everything from basic digital skills to developer scholarships. Additionally, in a partnership with Coursera, Google promised to provide 10,000 scholarships for workers and students interested in IT.
But they're not the only ones working to solve the problem, either. Home Depot has pledged $50 million to train employees in apprenticeships and skilled trades; Lowe's is offering offering upfront tuition payments to help employees pick up skilled trades.
Governments and educators are working to find solutions, too, sometimes in partnerships with private employers. Businesses have an opportunity to get in at the ground floor and help design things like life-long learning programs and tailor them to any identified future needs.
And as for internal learning programs, adaptability is a must, experts say. Employers that want to remain competitive will need to start retooling their learning and development initiatives now and training employees for jobs that don't even exist yet.