Time to Upskill and Reskill Our Workforce

The COVID-19 virus is forcing us to live and work differently. And some of these changes will be permanent. However, as in life, any challenge also brings opportunities for people and organizations. What will a post-lockdown economy look like? What new industries will emerge? What new jobs will be needed for companies to be successful? What new skills will employees need in their current positions to adapt to changing circumstances?

Individuals and companies that prepare now will be in a better position to succeed later in the new economic landscape. The US Department of Education has encouraged educators to consider hard and soft skills as the framework for further employability. Soft skills include communication, problem-solving, emotional intelligence, flexibility and leadership, to name a few.

Hector Ortiz, Ph.D., Senior Director of Community Relations and Partnerships

There is a strong connection between education and workforce demands, with a direct impact on employment and the economy. For this reason, higher education institutions are influencing alternative credential acquisition, experiential learning and competitive skills to fulfill industry demands. Since 1881, Central Penn College has been partnering with the local and regional business community to provide its graduates with the hard and soft skills necessary for employment in a changing world.

Responding to the need by hospitals and healthcare facilities for trained personnel in a new discipline, the college recently launched a new, 5-week, non-credit Telehealth Certificate course designed for healthcare professionals and organizations.

The course runs from May 18 through June 19. As of this writing, we still have a few slots open. To sign up or to learn more, visit: www.centralpenn.edu/telehealth.

But this is just one of many initiatives––including non-credit classes; short-term, customized courses; and targeted programs––that the team here at Central Penn is exploring.

Looking ahead, nearly every industry will be affected by the changes wrought by COVID-19 pandemic. Currently, the unemployment rate is hovering around 15 percent, with more than 35 million Americans out of work.

In the post-COVID economy, companies will need to find new ways to operate safely and successfully, while many workers will need new skills. As in any recession, post-secondary educational institutions play a fundamental role in meeting the demands of employers and employees.

For more than a century, Central Penn College has been a vital educational resource for this community, and we will continue to fulfill that role for this vibrant, growing region.

As Dr. Linda Fedrizzi-Williams, president of the college, recently said, “I am committed to leveraging all of Central Penn’s intellectual firepower to create programming that meets the needs of our community members as well as local and regional employers.”

During a time of disruption, it is the responsibility of colleges and universities to upskill and reskill the workforce, with the type of targeted learning that benefits both employees and employers, as well as the overall economy.

Since 2004, Central Penn has been offering high-quality, online education. We were one of the first colleges or universities in this region to offer online courses. Founded in 1881 as a business school, Central Penn also is one of the oldest, career-focused institutes in this area.

We continue to evolve… because businesses and organizations continue to evolve.

The COVID-19 crisis is both a challenge and an opportunity. Remember that what we do in the present determines what we will become in the future. If your company or organization has a training or educational need that isn’t being currently met, Central Penn College is here for you. Productive change often starts with a single conversation.

Article by Hector Ortiz, Ph.D., Senior Director of Community Relations and Partnerships

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