NEBHE to Launch New England-Wide Initiative on “Upskilling Adult Workers” with Support from Strada Education Network

By NEBHE Staff

The New England Board of Higher Education (NEBHE) is launching “Upskilling New England: Bridging the Gap Between Workers, Educators and Employers,” with support from Strada Education Network (Strada).

For more information, contact Candace Williams, NEBHE’s director of policy research & strategic initiatives, at  617-533-9530.

The three-part initiative will begin with the first-ever regional analysis of data from the Strada-Gallup Education Consumer Survey, the nation’s only representative sample of consumer insights and experiences with postsecondary education. Regional employers, higher education leaders and policymakers will then gather in a thinkers’ meeting to map solutions to regional upskilling issues and draft a white paper outlining their recommendations.

The Strada data reveals that within New England, there is wide variation among adults on the perceived need for career-advancing education. However, those without college experience are more likely to feel they need additional education. Across the region, approximately 2.5 million adults have not obtained a postsecondary education.

“New England is at a critical juncture,” said NEBHE President & CEO Michael K. Thomas, “where the long-term employability of every current and potential worker is at the top of employers’ minds. Ensuring that adults, whether gainfully, under- or unemployed, have options to advance their careers through strong higher education-employer partnerships is of regional significance.”

The thinkers’ meeting will serve as a data-driven vehicle to reveal the needs and capacities of workers, employers and higher education institutions in the region, as well as best practices to deliver high-quality postsecondary and training options for adults. The meeting will inform a white paper that drives the development of state upskilling policies, practices and action plans and supports increased targeted partnerships between higher education institutions and employers. Findings and recommendations of the white paper will be disseminated through state-based presentations and briefings.

“At Strada, we have a sense of urgency around the disconnect between education and workforce, the strain employers are under to find and retain workers for the jobs of today and tomorrow, and the challenges adults face when determining whether and how to pursue additional skills,” said Carol D’Amico, executive vice president of national engagement & philanthropy at Strada Education Network. “We are pleased to inform NEBHE’s effort with a first-of-its-kind data set with the ability to look at consumer feedback regionally in order to support upskilling efforts by New England’s leaders.”

NEBHE will leverage findings from its Commission on Higher Education & Employability and Strada’s Consumer Insights data to identify and expand adult education-to-employment pathways and career-advancing opportunities. Strada is also providing $152,000 to sponsor the Upskilling New England effort.



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