COVID-19 Has Widened the Skills Gap. But It Also Presents an Opportunity to Close It.

COVID-19 Has Widened the Skills Gap. But It Also Presents an Opportunity to Close It.

A growing number of technology companies are creating last-mile training opportunities to eliminate a key barrier to their own growth. Since 2014, Salesforce has spent hundreds of millions of dollars to develop curriculum for Trailhead, its free online learning platform. Amazon launched AWS Educate and AWS Academy to provide students and educators with the resources needed to accelerate cloud-related learning and connect companies hiring for cloud skills to qualified job seekers.

Of course, employers won’t bridge the gap by themselves. Colleges and universities are likely to evolve to be more focused on employment outcomes—and they will do so under duress. First-year student enrollment fell by 16.1 percent in fall 2020, and overall undergraduate populations shrank by 4 percent.

Employers, tech companies, service providers, and higher education institutions are learning the lessons of last-mile training and already working together to create new pathways to opportunity and socioeconomic mobility. There is light at the end of the tunnel.

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