A study by the Pew Research Center found 54 percent of working adults believe it was essential to continuously update their skills to be successful in their careers. Why? To keep up with advances in technology that are disrupting industries from automakers to retail. So what changes will support this need and how can higher education help?
Whether our young high school graduates enter a trade school, community college, or university, their degree or certificate will not be the end of their education.
Don Pearson of Benton Harbor said being a lifelong learner is one of the most important lessons his parents taught him while he was growing up.
“As a kid, that was part of the culture in the home – learning all the time, reading all the time,” said Pearson, a 1975 Benton Harbor High School graduate. “There was literature everywhere. It’s become a hobby. My father reads constantly, even to this day. He’s 93 years old and that was one of the reasons I retired. He’s still reading. He’s still watching the news. And we still have great, stimulating conversations.”
Associations usually focus the marketing of their education and credential programs on the individual learner. But your educational programs have two target audiences: individuals and the employers who pay for or encourage their continuing education.
Think of employers as the influencers who can help persuade members and prospects to register for educational programs or apply for certifications. They have the power of the purse. They also have the power to hire, promote, and fire. They see where existing and prospective employees are deficient. In fact, 92 percent of business leaders think Americans aren’t as skilled as they need to be, according to the Adecco State of the Economy Survey. 59 percent said the U.S. education system was to blame for gaps in workforce skills.
Associations can help bridge that gap. Become your industry’s educator of choice by partnering with member employers. Invite them to be on an advisory board that identifies skills gaps in your marketplace. Employers who help you design credential programs are more likely to send employees to them. Your association becomes an extension of corporate training.
“Each week we will meet women who had the passion and determination to break barriers and overcome obstacles to become movers and shakers in their own fields,” she says. “These include women who have excelled in classical music, writing, art, film, science, entrepreneurship, media, sports, government policy, biology, and higher education.”
Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Ringling College (OLLI at Ringling College) presents “Listening to Women,” a 12-session series featuring women whose innovations and accomplishments are having an impact and influencing lives locally and globally.
As Northeastern students continue to learn and grow throughout their lives, the university will be there to support them, President Joseph E. Aoun told Northeastern’s Student Government Association on Monday night.
“We have launched a global university system that will allow you, wherever you are, to partake in lifelong learning,” Aoun said. “The university will be with you wherever you are, whenever you need it, throughout your life.”