A recent Harvard Business School report found a widening gap between skills taught in the classroom and qualities employers are looking for in middle-skills jobs. Employers struggle to find talent that meets the criteria for jobs from community colleges, while educators feel out of touch with local employers. The lack of communication between both parties contributes to labor shortages at the local and national levels and often results in employers outsourcing to fill needs.
The study found that 84 percent of decision-makers across industries said they hire community college graduates. However, only 36 percent agreed that community colleges produce “work-ready” employees their companies need. Employers also have more options for finding talent – both online and in their industries – and rely less on colleges than they once did to source labor.
Local partnerships between employers and community colleges can resolve this issue quickly. By building rapport between these two entities, job seekers have a much higher chance of using their educations. Employers can instantly increase their talent pools while helping their communities thrive.
Although employers can help through these types of partnerships, colleges are responsible for rebuilding workforce pipelines for their students, as employers can choose from several options to find their next candidates. To do this, community colleges should follow three steps to build these relationships proactively:
Reach out directly.
Community colleges must contact employers directly to help match talent to open positions and create the initial rapport necessary for long-term partnerships.
Facilitate internships and apprenticeships.
Community college graduates often seek immediate employment upon graduation (unless they transfer to complete a four-year university degree). One of the best ways to secure that employment is to create internships at local companies that introduce their talent pool to top employers in their field.
Finding instructors with years of experience in their fields is a great way to facilitate job growth for graduates. Professor recommendations from former employees of major employers or those with a high reputation in the industry can go a long way for students just beginning their careers.
Provide incentives for employers.
Most employers have a variety of options for recruitment. They can search online, attend industry trade shows, or find recommendations from current and former employees to fill certain gaps. However, producing quality graduates with the skills needed to become high-performing employees is the key to making your organization the go-to for talent.
Community colleges are more important now than ever as tuition rates rise and more students choose alternative paths to start their careers.
If you’re looking for a path to community college but in need of a GED or additional help, we’re here to walk alongside you.
Employers or community colleges seeking to build stronger partnerships will also benefit from our local workforce connections.