The ROI on Employer Education Programs

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Jason Tyszko, Vice President, Center for Education and Workforce at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation joined the podcast to talk about creating win-win workforce development partnerships between institutions and employers.
 

Employers could better target and makeuse of their tuition reimbursement benefits, of which they put out anamount that rivals pell. On a good year, approximately thirty billion a year you're listening to enrolment growth,university from helic education, the best professional development podcastfor higher education leaders looking to grow in Roman at their college oruniversity, whether you're looking for fresh and Roman growth techniques andstrategies or tools and resources. You've come to the right place. Let'sget into the show, welcome back to enrolment growthuniversity, a proud member of the connect Edu podcast network, I'm EricWilson with helic education and were here today with Jason Tishka, VicePresident of the Center for Education and Work Force at the US Chamber ofCommerce Foundation. Jason. Welcome to the show. Thank you good to be herereally excited a topic you today about the Ry for employers who prioritizeemployee education programs, but before we dig in, can you give the listeners alittle background on the US Chamber of Commerce Foundation and your rule there?Absolutely so. I actually work for both the US Chamber of Commerce as well asits foundation. So the US Chamber of Commerce is a Washington DC,headquartered operation. It is a membership organization. We representover fifteen hundred state and local chambers of commerce across the countryand collectively over three million firms. That makes us the world'slargest business federation and we work on all manner of Education and workforce policy representing the business voice in perspective. In thoseconversations, I support the membership side, but today, I'm here representingthe US Chamber, Commerce Foundation, which is our nonprofit affiliate, whichdoes not have a membership but is more philanthropically, driven and driventhrough corporate sponsorships. So a lot of the work were focusing on withrespect to my team is how to elevate the employer, leadership and engagementrole in a wide variety of Education and workforce partnerships, so we'reworking all day long to make sure we...

...have the kind of system aliment we needso learners and workers are able to access the skills training credentialin they need in order to advance in their careers and to be part of ourlabor market in the American economy. So that's what we do and happy to sharewith you. Some business perspective on this topic, but also what we at the USamber converce foundation, are doing to help facilitate it yeah exactly why Iwas so excited to have you as a guess on this show Jason, maybe to kick usoff today. Can you just give us a starting high level overview on thevalue proposition regarding the value of for employers who do prioritizeemployee education programs? Yes, absolutely so. The first thing I wantto start with is just recognition that you know the business community has atremendous amount of skin in the game. The amount of money that employersinvest annually in both tuition reimbursement, as well as in formal andinformal training, actually eclipses with the federal government, provideson an annual basis through its grant. A loan programs, and what we are tryingto do is to really get our employers to think much more creatively anddifferently about how they're using those resources and who they'repartnering with to deploy them, because, while employers have a lot of skin inthe game, they know that we're in an economy that competes on talent and fora long time. A lot of these investments have been reserved for the preciousview they were going to folks who are in more advanced ranks inside thecompany, or they were being used largely as an employee benefit, so thatthe target was retention and part of that was hey. If you work for us, youknow we can help, reimburse some of your tuition costs if you're stillgoing to a post, secondary institution of trying to earn a credential ortrying to earn a more advance credential. So we know employers havebeen investing and they're investing for good reason, because it is a veryattractive way from players to be more hands on to prepare workers for jobsand careers in their sector and in...

...their company. It's important to themto advance people into critical roles and positions that would otherwise bevacant for long periods of time if they were trying to source this talent fromthe spot market. So we know that their economic competitiveness depends ontheir ability to acquire and make use of talent. So these investments reallyneed to make sure are the investments they make really need to be gearedtowards building a pipeline of talent that they can compete on, but alsoadvancing those in careers to their most critical jobs, to support theirenterprises, but also to make these investments in a way that improveemployee well being and also to help employees manage their skills and skill,ops, Olesson and always helping their employees so they're always remainingcompetitive in the labor market, and by doing that that builds good will. Itbuilds a good relationship, and that does result in improved retention whichcompanies want in need and also saves them a lot of money if they do it well.But a lot of companies, too, are also now looking in an Epande vol valueproposition where it's not just about. How do I get the talent I need, and howdo I keep that talent and grow it? It's also about how do I make sure that, forthose workers who are are not going to be here long term- and that applies toa lot of service sector jobs where we know there's going to be turnover, andwe know that this is a stop on somebody's career journey. How do wemake sure it's not just an employment experience, but they are also getting atraining experience that is recognized and valued where they can pursuecontinuing education. So if they move on that good experience, they've hadcan lead to referrals or could lead to them becoming a longtime customer ofthat particular company. So there's there's value in not only growing yourworkforce and competing on that work force, but there's also value in increating that good experience that can result in other benefits to the company.I love all of those different angles in terms of the task at hand which iscompeting for talent right now, let's dig into one of those Jason. Why is afocus on upskilling one's incumbent...

...work force, one of an employer'sbiggest opportunities for competitive success right now in a tight labormarket yeah? So you know upskilling is a critical part of any company's talentmanagement strategy today and there's a number of reasons why, if somebodycomes to work for somebody and they don't have they don't see a clear orintentional pathway for how they can, they can advance in their own personalcareer and working for that company? What that could result in is thatperson not being there as long as you want them to be there? So that's whereretention comes in so by growing your own may not only build that good will,but it allows you to fill a critical job role and retain someone longer thanthey otherwise might be retained. There's an advantage to that now.Another reason why upskilling is so critically important is for a lot ofthese advanced jobs. There's a skill gap. There is not a quick and readytalent pool available that, but for searching for them and them applyingcould easily be filled. So you have these. These more advanced positionsinside companies that can go vacant for unacceptable periods of time that canactually inhibit a company's ability to compete, and that becomes a problem. Soif, instead of having a job dry out on the on the spot market, hoping andpraying that a qualified candidates going to come along by upskilling, youcan actually be more intentional and look from within and say for those jobsthat I don't have for. Whatever reason I don't have a lot of confidence or Ihaven't had a good experience being able to source them from outside mycompany. This is a great way for me to be more intentional about identifyingcandidates that are well positioned to upscale in advance for those jobs thatmight otherwise struggle to fill, and that just takes some intentionality onthe part of the company to do it. But for a lot of them, that's the best wayto do it, particularly in tight labor markets or constrain labor markets andyou're, starting to see that now, where there isn't a big enough labor poolavailable to fill all the needs that are out there, there's a huge gap interms of the demand that employers have...

...in a wide variety of ways, but butespecially for jobs and the available supply of talent and available workerswho are are the working age population. So that's a product of of a pandemicand economic recovery. But it's also indicative of a larger work for a trendthat was happening even before that which has been exacerbated, which is wehave a declining working age population. So employers are going to be in a spacewhere they need to compete on talent, but they have to do more with less andif you're thinking as a company or an industry that we're going to be able tofind all the talent we need outside of our companies, and we don't have tolook from within you're going to be putting yourself at a disadvantage. Soit's just the nature of the market. We're in today that companies that wantto be successful have to look at upskilling is part of their solution,because if they don't they're going to have vacancies that are going tocripple their ability to compete in the market, I know you've seen some somevery creative solutions here. So I'm curious from your perspective. Howimportant is it for colleges and universities to avoid just offeringtheir standard brief, be degree menu to a local employer and works to try andpartially customize some programs for specific employers in order for theseemployer education partnerships to truly be successful yeah. So if I wasspeaking to any of our friends and higher education, Ripost SecondaryEducation Brit Large, what I would suggest is one of the worst things hecould do is go into sales mode and approach a company or group ofcompanies and approach it as just just take what I'm selling and what I meanby that is not understanding their needs and how to customize yourprogramming credentials to meet their needs, will put you at a disadvantagein that conversation and for some companies back in the day it was assimple as hey look. I want to have this tuition reimbursement program. I wantto identify eligible institutions or...

...programs where, if someone were to goand spend money, I'd reimburse them and they set the criteria for how to usethat that benefit. Section hundred and twenty seven of the code, the text codeand that's kind of going away. What you're seeing is for companies who areputting skin in the game they want to see greater returns and value. Sothey're not just saying go after any degree or program they're saying wewant to make sure that what people are learning will actually help build theirskills in the career they're, trying to advance and whether it's inside of ourcompany or outside of our company, so they're being much more tactical aboutwhere you could use their training dollars or their tuition, reimbursementbenefits and they're trying to create some intentionality about where you're,starting and where you're going so companies are getting a lot moretactical about that. So understanding, first and foremost like we do talent,supply change through my organization, and we help companies engage incollective action, identify their priority work force needs but clearlyidentify the pain points that are bringing them to this discussion orthat's, causing them to engage in collective action and understandingthose pain points and those goals. Those companies have is really criticalbecause it's not just going to be. I want a generic benefit and I want tomake sure people who come to my company have an a opportunity to pursue highereducation and credential. That's good, but what's better, is to come in andsay: Look we know. One of your issues is retention, or we know one of yourissues is filling certain job vacancies or standing up certain operations,because you don't have the talent to do it. Let's make sure that we are comingin as an outside provider of education, training, credential services, and weare going to be working with your work force that we are delivering acustomized program that Taylor made to address your highest priority needs andevery company or every cluster of companies that come together are goingto have potentially different needs, they're going to be somewhat related,but that that tweaking is going to be really important to speak to theirneeds and value proposition. Because what we're going to see is companieshave a lot of money in this game, but...

...they're going to be very conservativewhen it comes to how they're going to expend those resources and with whom,so the more your institutions and your programs are positioned to say we cando a needs assessment with you to figure out how we can design re,skilling and off Skilling program, services and credentials that couldbest address your most critical pain points, while also adding the mostvalue for your workers. That's going to be a powerful cell, but coming in andjust saying hey, if you got tuition reimbursement dollars, you should haveyour workers come and attend our programs as they are. It might not goas well, and part of that also requires the institution to seen through thedelivery of the program. Because for a lot of folks you know they are alreadystarting in their careers. They may be mid way through their careers and theydon't have the the luxury of engaging with that programmer institution like atraditional student would if there is such a thing anymore, and we need tothink about access issues. How often somebody interfaces with that programso transportations an issue time is an issue they're working their part of orraising families. So you need to think through the complexity of not just howare we addressing the employer, pain, points and goals with our program? Howdo we sit in, but then how do we make our program as accessible andaccommodating and supportive so that those learners and workers could havemeaningful access in participation and can persist and complete the programwe've made for them, understanding that they're bringing a set of ofconstraints and and conditions and characteristics that might not reflectwhat we would consider a traditional student on our campus Atic Cason? Let'sbreak down some final next steps: Advice for the two audiences that youwork with the most that you are beautifully and uniquely right in themiddle of your next steps: High Level Advice for employers, consideringEmploye Education, partnerships who may have not been engaged in them or madeit a priority in the past. How do you...

...suggest they approach that work yeahright now? What I say is you: You have to bring every employer on a journeyand it's a journey of self discovery, and we all kind of come to thisconversation with preconceived notions or assumptions about how things are andwhy things are the way they are and one of the first bits of advice I give toemployers, but really to anybody, is challenge your assumptions because yougot to get in there. You have to do your homework and do the data on what'sactually happening and for a lot of companies to get them to buy intoadditional investment in their current workers into reskin and upskilling,particularly if they don't have a lot of experience or history with it is abig bet, but you need to to not it's not so much lecturing and convincing asmuch as. Let's look at your data, let's look at what's happening now: Let'slook where you have job vacancies, let's look where you have retentionissues and let's identify where we can actually incorporate some of theseinterventions with feedback from your employees to figure out. What's theright mix of these kinds of upskilling and re skiing investments that couldachieve your goals, but first we need to be able to identify what your goalsare and be able to connect how this particular set of investments will beimpacting those goals. So you know it's successful and if a company canactually be able to draw a direct line of sight between these activities andthese outcomes that contribute to this Roi, that's how you get them to investmore and that's how you get them to invest continually. So you have to setthe game up right from the beginning, but it takes working with with whetherit's an individual employer or a group of employers to go through thatdiscovery process and to really look at the data and do their homework tounderstand why they should be in this business. It's not from a approachingit from a sense of corporate citizenship or corporate socialresponsibility is certainly a way to get somebody interested. But if youwant them to do this as good business practice and to be fully invested, youhave to connect to the business side of it and when it comes to the highereducation side, I'd say it's: It's your...

...market to lose. If you're, looking atwhere, where the money is going to be at and where the populations at whocould be benefiting from these services, it's the income! Bat Workforce, it'sthe current mix of existing employees, who are going to be in need of reSkilling and upskilling, whether they're sticking with that company orindustry or moving to another one, because we are in an economy that willcompete on skills and the threat of skill obsolescence is very real. Thehalf life of skills will only get worse, so we need to make sure that and that'sbeyond just education. That includes how we finance education there's a lotof dimensions to this, but if you're looking at where's the market, that's aneed of education, training and credential services on a continualbasis. It's largely young adults and folks who are mitting through theircareers, were already working, but could be workers and learners at thesame time, if you're able to organize the educational experience, that'saccommodating, but also one that could meet their employers needs. So it's notthe individual having to go it alone. I have to go or work my job. I have toraise my family. I have to do all my other responsibility and I need torescale it's making that easier and saying it's one and the same. If wewant it to be, and we can make it such that it's integrated with youremployment experience, it has the support of your employer and it'sfunded by your employer, r financed and that's where we can talk about howemployers could better target and make use of their tuition reimbursementbenefits of which they put out in a mount that rivals pell on a good year,proximately thirty billion a year, and it could also be used to say well, heyif individuals are actually taking out debt or having loans to access theseopportunities. Under the current tax code, employers are now able toactually help pay down that that, without it, counting as taxable incometo the employee, so there you have an opportunity to say: Hey, we we'll payfor it up front, will reimburse you, or should you be arriving with that ortaking on that we can help retire, that debt now we need to make that benefitmore permanent, but that's a conversation for another day, butthere's what I'm trying to get across...

...is it's about accommodating the learnerwhen they are a worker, it's about getting the employer bought in and it'sabout making it a shared risk and share value creation proposition where thethe employers benefiting the workers benefiting and the worker is notincurring all of the risk, but that risk o share with the employer, whoalso has more skin in the game, and that's, I think, is the way to approachit in the way it's going to work for both parties. It's going to takeemployers, understanding how it fits within a larger talent managementstrategy to the point where they're willing to put skin in the game, andit's going to take the education, training and credential providers,their ability to approach employers, connect to their value proposition andthen find ways of accommodating their workplace, culture and environment. Sothese learning services become one in the same as the employment experienceand that the employer is able to provide more direct investment whichtakes much of the burden, a risk off the the learner work of themselves.Jason is such great counsel and Create Advice. Thank you. So much for yourtime today. What's the best place for listeners to connect with you and yourteam with they have any follow up questions Yeh're happy to engage withand work with anyone we are very accessible. The best way to connectwith us is via email. I'm happy to give you my personal email address. It's myfirst initial last name at US Chamber. My first initial is J. my last name isspelled teas and Tim. Why is in yellow esses and Sam Zian Zebra Kazan, Kevinand O as and Oliver so J T Y S, Z, K, O at US Chamber, and we be happy toconnect with you if you're a education institution, that's seeking to kind ofrethink and re Calera e, how you engage employers effectively and how youbetter understand their needs and could help them co, design solutions andwe're also apt to engage with any employers or any employer partners oftheirs to think through what they need to do internally, to kind of organizetheir work for strategy and start producing better, more actionable dataabout their needs. So they could be a...

...much more effective and accommodatingpartner to you. So we work on both ends, but we're happy to help kind of brillthat bridge and create that system level. Alignment Yeah Ewe do that allday long and we do it all over the country we have networks operating andover thirty eight states, and even in Canada and we'd, be just reallyprivileged to have the opportunity to engage with with your audience on theseissues chase and keep up the wonderful work, and thank you so much for joiningus today. Thank you attracting today's new post, traditional learners meansadopting new enrolment strategies. He liks educations data driven enterprise,wide approach to enrolment growth is uniquely helping colleges anduniversities thrive in this new education, landscape and Helix has justpublished the second edition of their enrollment growth playbook, with fiftypercent brand new content on how institutions can solve today's mostpressing, enrolment growth challenges download it today for free at HelosEducation, com, playbook, you've been listening to enrolmentgrowth university from helic education to ensure that you never miss anepisode subscribe to the show in Itunes or your favorite podcast player. Thankyou so much for listening until next time.

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