Tuition Assistance Overcomes Workplace Challenges

Every employer and employee faces workplace challenges. Artificial intelligence and technology eliminate some jobs, create others, and require that workers have new skill sets. Employers need skilled and qualified employees. Employees need to stay abreast of new technology and keep reinventing themselves. Solutions to workplace challenges involve many stakeholders.

One group of stakeholders taking on workplace challenges is the National Governors Association. Each year a different governor leads the association, and this year Gov. Steven Bullock of Montana is making workplace challenges and disruption his platform. He is asking governors across the country to turn challenges into opportunities.

Governors Initiative
During the next year the NGA Good Jobs for All Americans initiative will help state governors assess actions they can take to help prepare workers for what’s ahead. “We’re on the cusp of a profound economic and social transformation, catalyzed by technological advancement, by changing demographics, by evolving skills and by new ways of engaging with work,” says Gov. Bullock. “We have to equip workers with new skills, preparing them for jobs, some that don’t even exist today.”

Creating opportunities for all Americans isn’t something governors alone can make happen. Businesses and workers play major parts in preparing for workplace challenges that involve technology, skills and demographics. Technology, automation and artificial intelligence have changed the skill sets that jobs require. Automation has taken over and will continue to perform rote, repetitious and manual tasks. Workers are required to focus on tasks that require new skill sets: problem solving, communication, analytics and technology development skills. The need for these skills will grow. As baby boomers retire the need for skilled workers to replace them is growing. New workers need skills to perform current tasks and the ability to reskill to fill future needs.

One focus of the NGA for addressing these challenges is titled “Second Acts: Reskilling Mid-Career Workers for Success.” It states, “Opportunities to re-skill and upskill in the face of a changing economy can ensure their (mid-career workers) continued access to and success in the labor market.” “Second Acts” could also be a good name for tuition assistance. The opportunities for employees to reskill and upskill are in place at businesses that offer tuition assistance.

Employee and business participation
Employees can play their part in overcoming workplace challenges when they use employer tuition assistance. They have to opportunity to learn skills that are in demand and they can see the importance of continued education. Rutgers University speaks to the issue of continuing education in a class that addresses what skills people need for workplace success. Workers have to have to be flexible and prepare to be adaptable, says Jennifer Lenahan Cleary, director of Rutgers School of Arts and Sciences Career Explorations Initiative. The class “explains how the jobs market is rapidly changing as a result of advances in technology and other factors, and why it’s so important for everyone to be prepared for an uncertain future.”

Businesses will overcome workplace challenges and help create opportunities with tuition assistance programs that establish a culture that looks toward the future. The McKinsey paper “Skill Shift” says that companies will “undergo a mind-set shift.” Success and worker education are closely linked. Tuition assistance programs provide the means for workers to access education and prepare for changing workplace demands. Tuition assistance and reskilling workers for success, builds business success. “A key to companies’ future success will be in providing continuous learning options and instilling a culture of lifelong learning throughout the organization.”

Overcoming workplace challenges and creating opportunities for everyone builds strong economies for states working with the NGA initiative. Overcoming workplace challenges and creating opportunities is important for all stakeholders. Tuition assistance promotes worker education and skills to build business success and create strong economies.