Are you ‘upskilling’ your workforce?

We’re seeing it in Kansas, Missouri, Colorado and elsewhere: a shortage of adequately trained employees.

Kansas especially is desperate to find people to fill jobs.

The latest Kansas Department of Labor data shows the state has 45,000 job vacancies, with 3.2 of every 100 jobs being vacant and half of those vacancies lasting more than 30 days or staying open.

At the same time, employees and employers seem to be taking some of the basic steps to address the problem, primarily training.

More than a third of U.S. employees surveyed say they have done nothing in the past 12 months to “upskill” – defined as attending workshops, completing online courses, receiving consultation from a specialist, participating in personal coaching sessions or pursuing further education.

It’s not that these workers don’t know they have a problem. Nearly 70 percent of them say they feel they need more training and skills to stay up-to-date.

But only 40 percent say they would arrange for and pay out of their own pockets to upskill themselves. About the same number of U.S. employees say their employers have not offered and paid for anything related to upskilling.

As employment experts, we think it’s in an employer’s best interest to help their people learn and grow.

Not only will that help them become better at their jobs, it can help you with retention and recruitment.

And if you work for a company that doesn’t have the budget to train, we recommend taking advantage of free and low-cost learning opportunities to acquire both technical and soft skills.

A good place to start for workers in the hospitality, food or construction fields includes online learning options such as EdX and Udemy.

About the Author

Lon Matejczyk

Lon is the former publisher of the Colorado Springs Business Journal and Colorado Springs Military Newspaper Group.He has served in leadership roles at various newspapers in Iowa, Florida and Wisconsin. Lon received his Bachelor of Arts in Communications from the University of Wisconsin, Eau Claire and attended the Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University. Earlier in his career, Lon spent several years as a sea captain and held a 100-ton Coast Guard license. Lon is a former rugby player, referee and administrator and now coaches under 13 year old kids. Lon has served on the boards of numerous community and business organizations including Colorado Springs Leadership Institute, Peak Venture Group, CS Quality of Life Indicators Business Index Committee, Junior Achievement and is a member of The Colorado Thirty Group.  Lon was given the “Making the Pikes Peak region a better place to live work and play” award by the CS Chamber of Commerce, was the VFW Post 1’s business citizen of the year.