Tailor Your Career Path with Continuing Education

Dec 5, 2019

It’s well known that there is a skills shortage among job candidates in the United States. According to SHRM’s 2019 State of the Workforce report, 83% of respondents have had trouble recruiting qualified candidates in the last year. If you’re looking for a job, this might sound like a discouraging implication that you aren’t skilled enough. However, a look at the specific skills employers are missing will show how you can tailor your career path and prioritize growth to better your chances of finding a position.

What skills do employers say are missing? The top 3 missing technical skills categories include:

  • Trades, such as carpentry, plumbing, welding, etc.
  • Data analysis/data science
  • Science/engineering/medical

The top 3 missing soft skills noted are:

  • Problem solving, critical thinking, innovation, and creativity
  • Ability to deal with complexity and ambiguity
  • Communication

Employers also reported a lack of the following across all disciplines:

  • Professionalism
  • Understanding the business world
  • Prioritizing lifelong learning

So where do you go from here? If you can identify areas to work on, you can find courses and programs that will fill your skills gap. This makes you more employable and shows dedication to your professional growth

In the Washington, D.C. metro area, the following colleges and universities have courses and programs designed for continuing your professional education. Some of these are online, while some may be in person:

For trades, local resources include Strayer University and ECPI University, but many smaller schools exist. Resources exist to find trade schools near you.

Other resources are available online, and some are even free. The following websites offer education for adults in the workforce:

  • Coursera – This site features courses for professional certificates and online learning from the nation’s top universities.
  • Academic Earth – Free online courses as well as resources for degrees.
  • Class Central – A catalog of self-paced, online courses available from many different sources and in multiple languages.
  • LinkedIn Learning – Originally called Lynda.com, LinkedIn acquired this wide array of digital courses covering thousands of topics in both technical and soft skill areas.
  • YouTube – The social media juggernaut has millions of videos that include free tutorials on various types of software, business lessons, and tips on soft skill areas like leadership or time management.
  • TED Talks – Often viewed as an idealistic and inspirational source, the site also has talks on business topics.
  • The Muse – The “Tools & Skills” section of this site has articles and videos to help work on soft skills and containing advice on navigating the business world.
  • Udemy – This site has over 100,000 online video courses on all sorts of topics and is constantly updating with new courses.
Written by: Sarah Perlman

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