When learners look for education programs that will prepare them for a career transition, they need to know that the program they choose will be worth the investment. Targeted education offers precise and relevant learning experiences that are flexible, tailored to the busy lives of working learners, and provide clear pathways to good jobs.
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The postsecondary system was designed with a primary pathway in mind – from high school, to college, to a career. Today’s diverse learners need alternative pathways through education and into a career. Without those pathways, many opt out or drop out of further education.
Learners have access to targeted education tailored to their needs: the right skills, the right pathways, at the right time. They also know that the education they choose will be worth the investment—and clearly signal value to a prospective employer—time and time again across their working lives.
All learners can benefit from targeted education, no matter their academic background. Integrating more technical and workplace-focused training into comprehensive degree programs, and offering standalone targeted programs adults can return to throughout their careers, will equip learners with the human+ skills need to thrive in a changing labor market.
A concept called “skill shapes” can tell educators, employers and other stakeholders how to develop the right targeted programs to support the local labor market. Skill shapes, informed by real-time labor market data, map the skills an employer needs alongside the skills the local workforce has, illuminating the skills gaps that targeted education can fill.
Targeted education must be an integral component of a stronger, more equitable economic recovery. Once jobseekers understand the skills that are in short supply in their region, they can identify which skills will help them secure stable employment and avoid wasting their education resources on something that employers aren’t asking for.
Unbundling traditional curriculum into discrete learning modules can offer learners a way to customize the specific, skill-based education program they need to fuel their desired career outcomes.