Reskilling for the Digital Age Takes 3 Key Steps

While agencies have long relied on in-person training, it’s not proving enough to bridge the growing skills gap.

Facing shifting workforce demographics, technological disruptions and new workflows, government personnel must re-skill or risk falling behind. Even more, government teams responsible for state workforce development are additionally pressured by the COVID-19 pandemic’s economic effects driving up unemployment and the displacement of workers. The World Economic Forum reported that 40% of workers’ core skills are expected to change in the next five years. Further, economists warn that millions of eliminated jobs are unlikely to return, setting up a massive need for career changes and retraining.

Governments must consider a new approach. By leveraging an online learning platform, workers can keep up with technological developments and governments can improve skills transformation, at scale.

“Virtual training helps agencies rise to the scale their challenges demand,” said Sam Combs, Senior Manager, Government Partnerships at Coursera. “They can do so rapidly and at a fraction of the cost of what they’d be expected to with in-person training.”

Combs shared three ways agencies can reskill for the digital age.

1. Customize coursework

To best reskill talent, Combs recommends agencies curate content to address individualized training requirements while building skills outcomes geared at better accomplishing their missions.

For example, agencies focused on digital transformation can build tailored learning pathways focused on cybersecurity, cloud computing and machine learning topics. Pathways can be aligned to individual roles where technical experts receive advanced-level training while junior and non-technical personnel leverage literacy-level content.

“We need to meet learners where they are,” he said. “We need to provide training pathways optimized for them.”

2. Harness Knowledge

Agencies can draw from a wealth of external knowledge to reskill talent. Academia and top businesses have made their training and certifications available to learn from virtually.

“Give people an opportunity to learn from the best minds,” Combs said. “Provide access to the world’s best experts and institutions on these topics.”

A strong online learning platform offers agencies private-sector research and teachings on topics such as cloud computing, data science and artificial intelligence to improve their effectiveness in the digital age.

3. Make metrics count

Metrics enable agencies to measure and understand the ROI of their training activities. Coursera’s online learning platform tracks learner engagement with their classes, skills mastery and their workforce’s skills transformation overall.

“Agencies need to make sure that it isn’t training for training’s sake,” Combs said. ‘They need to make sure they are implementing a training solution driven at a mission outcome.”

For governments to succeed in a world dominated by rapidly changing technology — accelerated by the pandemic — priority must be placed on building the skills that are needed to thrive in the digital age. By using a platform like Coursera, governments can provide tailored training on in-demand skills from the world’s leading experts at the scale required to meet today’s challenges.

This article is an excerpt from GovLoop’s recent guide, “Your Guide to Virtual Collaboration and Training in Government.” Download the full guide here.


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