Targeted Re-Skilling

Google is doing something interesting. And doing it through partnership with schools and an undervalued population.

Just as MotherCoders participants want to improve their career prospects by re-skilling, so do most prospective college students over the age of 25 when weighing whether to pursue a degree or certificate, according to a May 2018 report from the nonprofit Public Agenda research group. Because they often balance commitments such as families, jobs and expenses in addition to their education, features such as childcare and financial aid programs are draws for them.

Some colleges are actively reaching out to this group. For example, Maryville University, a nonprofit institution near St. Louis, offers resources on its website for caregivers returning to the workforce. Online degree programs also are targeting parents reentering the job market by offering flexible schedules and credentials tailored to career-knowledge needs. And private companies, too, are seeing the need to help caregivers re-skill in order to return to work, with some like Walmart developing their own programs.

Of course, if they re-skill and then end up without benefits at Wal-Mart it won’t have been a good investment, but I suspect that this sort of thing, this targeted, group-tailored effort instead of a broad, vague college push is going to be valuable and commonplace very soon.

I am keeping my eye on this, and expect it to recur in my work. Ultimately, it will take considerable time to see how these initiatives pay off, but on the surface, it seems to be savvy and smart, and beneficial to both the companies and the learners.


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