47 episodes

Companies need workers and workers need the skills to fit the open jobs of today. The Talent Finance Initiative is one of the best plans out there – outlining how to bring public and private funds together to train workers for the future while decreasing the cost of education. PBS’s Hari Sreenivasan talks to two of its designers – Jason Tyszko and Peter Beard – about this model that results in less debt, great career opportunities, and, hopefully, a better return on investment for workers and employers.

Work In Progress WorkingNation

    • Business
    • 5.0 • 10 Ratings

Companies need workers and workers need the skills to fit the open jobs of today. The Talent Finance Initiative is one of the best plans out there – outlining how to bring public and private funds together to train workers for the future while decreasing the cost of education. PBS’s Hari Sreenivasan talks to two of its designers – Jason Tyszko and Peter Beard – about this model that results in less debt, great career opportunities, and, hopefully, a better return on investment for workers and employers.

    The government needs workers with cybersecurity, AI, and data analytic skills. Here’s what it is doing about it.

    The government needs workers with cybersecurity, AI, and data analytic skills. Here’s what it is doing about it.

    In this episode of Work in Progress, I'm joined by MK Palmore, director, Office of the CISO, Google Cloud and Todd Conklin, deputy assistant secretary, U.S. Department of the Treasury's Office of Cybersecurity and Critical Infrastructure Protection. We're talking about how the federal government has partnered with Google Cloud to offer two new certifications and another training course to prepare workers for critical jobs protecting our national security.







    For the federal government and private employers across the country, the demand for AI and cybersecurity skills is insatiable. U.S. employers posted nearly 200,000 jobs requiring AI skills in the past 12 months.







    The World Economic Forum predicts demand for AI and machine learning specialists will grow 40% worldwide over the next five years. The demand for roles in cybersecurity is even stronger, with more than 400,000 jobs posted since April of last year. Both these areas of expertise point to employers' need for talent that can analyze data.







    However, simply put, there are not enough workers with the skills needed to fill all the available jobs.







    This week at the ASU+GSV Summit, Google Cloud and the Treasury Department announced a public-private partnership offering new certificate courses in cybersecurity and data analytics and a course in generative AI.







    It's part of the government's effort to help connect talent to these in-demand tech jobs across industries and sectors, including the government, which is in need of workers to protect our national security infrastructure.







    "It's a broad range of opportunities at Treasury in the cyberspace," explains Conklin, who in addition to being Treasury's deputy assistant secretary of cyber is also its chief AI officer. "You have the hands-on IT, actually being a person who is the first line of defense from a cybersecurity specialist perspective. We have general policy specialists that are more on the cyber policy that focus on how do we bolster standards."







    This includes in the financial sector. "Treasury ultimately serves as the bank for the U.S. government and we process a significant amount of payments on behalf of U.S. citizens on a daily basis, which rivals our largest [private] financial institution. Effectively, Treasury itself operates as a global bank to some degree," explains Conklin.







    In addition to cyber, he says there is also a demand at Treasury for people with advanced skills in data analytics and, now, AI, which is where the partnership with Google Cloud comes in.







    "Generative AI is the dominating topic today among technologists and cybersecurity practitioners, so that's the leading cert that's come out, but we also have a complementary cybersecurity and data analytics cert along with those," says Google's Palmore.







    "It's a growing field in terms of certifications that we've weighed into because we realize the value of providing certifications to folks as a bit of a shortened pathway in some ways. It provides substantive guidance, advice, and skill levels that will help people enter these growing fields of technology and explore the possibility of a career there."







    Palmore says the certification tells the potential employer a couple of things, especially when combined with practice experience, which you get as part of the training.







    "You are stating to an employer that not only can you grasp the academic portion of the work, but that you've shown the ability to then apply that work," he says. "I'm a big believer in the certification pathway and capability. I tell folks that as long as you are willing to do the work the certifications will give you that starting point."







    So,

    • 20 min
    Inclusive apprenticeships benefit everyone, so why are there so few for people with disabilities?

    Inclusive apprenticeships benefit everyone, so why are there so few for people with disabilities?

    In this episode of Work in Progress, we share a WorkingNation panel discussion on apprenticeships for people with disabilities from the SXSW EDU conference in March in Austin, Texas.







    Moderated by WorkingNation Advisory Board member Josh Christianson, project director for the Partnership on Inclusive Apprenticeships at the U.S. Department of Labor and senior specialist at the Cadmus Group, the panel examined apprenticeships as a rarely-tapped source of employment for people with disabilities.







    Joining him on the panel were Mike Hess, founder & CEO of The Blind Institute of Technology, David Fazio, founder and president of Helix Opportunity, and Zariah Cameron, an equity UX strategist.







    The distinguished group of panelists discuss the importance of inclusive apprenticeships, the benefits for both apprentices and employers, and the need for accessible technology and workplace environments.







    They also address challenges such as outdated job descriptions, the lack of support from vocational rehabilitation programs, and the discrimination faced by individuals with disabilities.







    The panelists provide resources and suggestions for creating more inclusive apprenticeships and vetting employers to ensure fair treatment of individuals with disabilities.







    You can listen to the podcast here, or download and listen wherever you get your podcasts. You can also find it our Work in Progress YouTube channel.







    WorkingNation is a proud media partner with SXSW EDU.























    Episode 312: Josh Christianson, Zariah Cameron, Mike Hess, and David FazioHost & Executive Producer: Ramona Schindelheim, Editor-in-Chief, WorkingNationProducer: Larry BuhlTheme Music: Composed by Lee Rosevere and licensed under CC by 4Transcript: Download the transcript for this episode hereWork in Progress Podcast: Catch up on previous episodes here

    • 45 min
    ‘When Techs Rock, America Rolls!’

    ‘When Techs Rock, America Rolls!’

    In this episode of Work in Progress, I'm joined by Jennifer Maher, CEO of TechForce Foundation, to discuss one of the fastest-growing jobs in America – professional transportation technician – and how the nonprofit is supporting people of all ages and backgrounds trying to get into the field.







    Over the next four years, jobs in the transportation tech field are expected to grow by nearly 800,000, according to TechForce Foundation, as older workers leave the workforce and brand new jobs are created by advancements in technology.







    "We're talking about automobiles, airplanes, trucks, motorcycles, boats, race cars, anything that moves, even stationary engines," explains Maher. "And not only is it automobiles as we would traditionally think, but now it's the autonomous vehicles, electric vehicles. It's drones. It's charging stations. They all need skilled qualified technicians to keep them moving."







    Maher describes the crucial role the technician plays in our society.







    "Our motto at TechForce is 'When Techs Rock, America Rolls!' COVID gave us the term 'essential workers,' that there are certain jobs that have to keep going to keep us all rolling. The technician remains an essential job.







    "We all need to get to work, to get to school, to get groceries to our shelves. We need to be moving products and things all over the world, and we still want to take our vacations and/or fly from here to there.







    "Imagine the world without techs and how different it would be if everything came to a grinding halt. And that is why we advocate for this profession and for the industry because we need them," says Maher.







    Maher says anyone interested in working with their hands, problem-solving, and new technology should consider a career as a professional technician. But she adds, you will find the skills needed a little different than you would have imagined in the past.







    "There's still the outdated stigma of the shade tree mechanic or the grease monkey. And yes, there is wrenching and, yes, there's oil and lubricants and things, but it is so much more of a STEM career today – the science, technology, engineering, and math; the circuitry; the computer and the diagnostics; the calibration; and the advanced safety systems. You can't just lift your hood and work on most vehicles today. You've got to be trained and skilled."







    TechForce Foundation's mission is helping students of all ages and backgrounds – including older adults wanting to change careers – explore and enter the field through scholarships, connections to internships, and support of workforce development training.







    In the podcast, Maher shares stories of how the scholarships have help hundreds – including a veteran named Jose and a 16-year-old girl named Chris – found their paths to becoming professional transportation technicians.







    So how much does a tech make? Location and cost of living can affect a salary, but automotive techs typically average more than $60,000 and with additional certifications that salary can reach into six figures. For aviation techs, the average salary after three years ranges from $72,000 to over $100,000, depending on location, according to TechForce.







    Interested in exploring a career in transportation tech? You can listen to the podcast here, or download and listen wherever you get your podcasts. You can also find it our Work in Progress YouTube channel.























    Episode 311: Jennifer Maher, CEO, TechForce FoundationHost & Executive Producer: Ramona Schindelheim, Editor-in-Chief, WorkingNationProducer: Larry BuhlTheme Music: Composed by Lee Rosevere and licensed under CC by...

    • 23 min
    ‘Ageism should be something in the past, not in the present. It’s time to get over it.’

    ‘Ageism should be something in the past, not in the present. It’s time to get over it.’

    In this episode of the Work in Progress podcast, I am joined by Catherine Collinson, president and CEO of the nonprofit research foundation Transamerica Institute, to discuss the crucial role older workers can play in filling in-demand roles across the economy and how ageism may be standing in the way of tapping into that talent pool.







    "Ageism should be something in the past, not in the present. It's time to get over it," says Collinson, especially as employers express an inability to "attract and retain talent, as they're looking to grow their businesses. It is negatively impacting their ability to conduct business."







    A new report from Transamerica Institute and its Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies released this morning – Workplace Transformations: Employer Business Practices and Benefit Offerings – says employers are feeling the impact of a prolonged labor crunch. Thirty-seven percent (37%) say it is negatively impacting them. For larger employers, the number is much higher. It goes to six, even seven, in 10.







    There are four – some even say five – generations of workers in the labor force now. Midcareer and older workers are making up a bigger share each year.







    Since 1987, the share of workers aged 65 or older has grown from a little more than one in ten (11%) to almost one in five (19%). Currently, about 30% of the U.S. labor forces is over the age of 55.







    While these workers want or need to continue working, they are often overlooked when it comes to opportunities to "skill up" to do the jobs that employers say they having trouble filling, explains Collinson.







    "Our survey found almost nine in 10 employers feel that they are age-friendly and provide opportunities, resources, and training for workers of all ages to be successful. But when we looked a little bit further, we found not so much, especially as it relates to attracting and retaining talent.







    "Very few said they gave a great deal of consideration to age 50+ job applicants. Even some of the things that we saw in terms of professional development opportunities – which, by the way, they could be doing a lot more for workers of all ages – they just seem to be not yet tuned into that opportunity.







    "Employers on one hand are contending with labor crunches, and yet they're missing out on this talent pool that has expertise, experience, wisdom, that wants to work. Why are they not paying closer attention? That's a rhetorical question, but it also leads to that we've got to retire ageism."







    Collinson and I go on to discuss ways in which employers can attract workers of all ages and the benefits of a multigenerational workforce. We also discuss the impact of employers using artificial intelligence to "augment their human workforce." In Collinson's words, "Robotics and artificial intelligence may be revolutionizing the business world, but human workers are still critically needed."







    You can listen to the podcast here, or download and listen wherever you get your podcasts. You can also find it our Work in Progress YouTube channel.























    Episode 310: Catherine Collinson, president and CEO, Transamerica InstituteHost & Executive Producer: Ramona Schindelheim, Editor-in-Chief, WorkingNationProducer: Larry BuhlTheme Music: Composed by Lee Rosevere and licensed under CC by 4Transcript: Download the transcript for this episode hereWork in Progress Podcast: Catch up on previous episodes here

    • 21 min
    Prioritizing resilience to extreme weather and climate change is creating new clean energy jobs

    Prioritizing resilience to extreme weather and climate change is creating new clean energy jobs

    In this episode of Work in Progress, Mayor Justin Bibb of Cleveland talks about how a coalition of American mayors are attacking the impact of extreme weather and environmental challenges in their communities and are bolstering their local economies by creating clean energy jobs.







    I recently traveled to Miami Beach for the Aspen Ideas: Climate conference, a gathering of global, federal, and local policymakers, corporate leaders, and scientists, brought together by the Aspen Institute to discuss solutions to the impacts of climate change and pollution. 







    There I met members of Climate Mayors, a coalition of 750 mayors from 48 states representing more than 60 million Americans. 







    Climate Mayors lays out its mission as:









    Supporting sustainable infrastructure projects that bolster resilience to extreme weather and climate change, and modernize the electric grid,







    Advancing environmental justice, and







    Creating an abundance of clean energy jobs in their communities.

















    Mayor Justin Bibb of Cleveland – the chair of the group – sat down with me at the conference to discuss those goals and how the mayors are working to achieve results for the people they serve.







    He highlights the need for public-private partnerships and collaboration to drive sustainable economic growth and bring jobs to his cities and others around the country. Mayor Bibb says the bipartisan federal legislation that's making funding available for rebuilding infrastructure and creating jobs is key to those partnerships.







    "We're at the front lines of making sure we take this historic federal investment and have real solutions, real models of best practices in cities, from Madison to Cleveland to LA to New York City. Part of our work is ensuring that cities have the capacity and technical assistance they need to navigate the labyrinth of federal guidelines and regulations to navigate this funding."







    Mayor Bibb stresses the importance of making the benefits of the greening of the economy accessible to all residents, particularly those in marginalized communities.







    He also shares his vision for Cleveland as a resilient, equitable, and prosperous city that can serve as a model for the rest of the country.







    "We want to create high-paying, good-quality jobs, particularly in the building trades, for a lot of the work we need to do to address the built environment. We're also really focused on leveraging our roots in advanced manufacturing, and this new growing movement of sustainable manufacturing. The new reshoring trend that we're seeing coming out of the pandemic is going to bode well for the nation and bode really well for Cleveland and Northeast Ohio."







    I asked him he wants the country to describe Cleveland in the near future.







    "Hope, promise, resilience, opportunity. We've been a city that has been tough on ourselves for a long time. We know how to rebound in a way that I think is an embodiment of the Great American can-do spirit. And in many ways, Cleveland is America, and America is Cleveland from the legacy issues we've had around race, and disinvestment, and segregation and how globalization impacted our city's economy. And if we can see an equitable, prosperous, inclusive comeback in Cleveland, and I think it shows the nation that if it can be done in Cleveland, it can be done anywhere."







    You can listen to the podcast here, or download and listen wherever you get your podcasts. You can also find it our Work in Progress YouTube channel.







    This podcast was created in collaboration with the Aspen Institute.

    Disclosing a disability at work is a personal decision but one that can benefit the worker and employer

    Disclosing a disability at work is a personal decision but one that can benefit the worker and employer

    In this episode of Work in Progress, I've brought together a group of experts to discuss the challenges faced by people with disabilities in finding meaningful employment, advancing in their careers, and the importance of creating inclusive workplaces. The discussion centers on how disclosing a disability and seeking a reasonable accommodation can be a difficult decision, one that has a profound impact.







    “Progress has been made, but certainly not enough has been done,” says Wendi Safstrom, president of the SHRM Foundation – addressing the fears and misconceptions that employers may have about hiring individuals with disabilities.







    She notes, “The more we can get HR professionals to learn and listen to one another in terms of some of the opportunities that they've had getting people [with disabilities] into their organizations and some of the great experiences they've had working with individuals who have disabilities, I think are a great way to really amplify that particular message. That's why we're continue to be committed to this kind of work across all of our untapped pools of talent.”







    In this episode, you'll hear from:









    Kirk Adams, Ph.D., managing director, Innovative Impact, LLC







    Everette Bacon, VP of blind initiatives, Aira







    Deb Dagit, president and consultant, Deb Dagit Diversity







    Sam Estoesta, project manager with a social innovation specialization, TD Bank







    Scott Hoesman, CEO and founder, inQUEST Consulting







    Becky Kekula, senior director of the Disability Equality Index, Disability:IN







    Wendi Safstrom, president, SHRM Foundation









    You can listen to the podcast here, or download and listen wherever you get your podcasts. You can also find it our Work in Progress YouTube channel.























    Episode 308: A Discussion Around the Decision to Disclose a Disability at WorkHost & Executive Producer: Ramona Schindelheim, Editor-in-Chief, WorkingNationProducer: Larry BuhlTheme Music: Composed by Lee Rosevere and licensed under CC by 4Transcript: Download the transcript for this episode hereWork in Progress Podcast: Catch up on previous episodes here

    • 21 min

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No matter the subject, I always walk away from every episode having learned something new! Ramona has insightful and educational conversations, that will leave you wanting more! I love this show.

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