Why should you do it now? Several reasons.
First, the obvious one: the sooner you acquire valuable skills, the sooner you can be making more money.
Second, there's a major skills shortage in the job market right now. Employers simply can't find enough workers for their open jobs. It's caused by a number of social factors, including:
The Baby Boomer generation leaving the workforce and not enough people in later generations to fill all the gaps
The cost of a college degree skyrocketing out of reach for the vast majority of the population
The speed with which businesses have transformed their operations in the digital world
Last but not least, Integrity associates now have access to Next Step U (in partnership with leading online education institution, Penn Foster) for completely free educational programs. You've got nothing to lose, and a lot to gain!
What skills are in the highest demand by employers? You may have heard that the shortages are mostly in low-skilled jobs such as food service and agriculture, but that's just not true. Last Fall, the unfilled jobs totals were:
900,000 in hospitality and food services
1.2 million in professional and business services
1.3 million in education and health services
1. Digital skills
This is the single biggest need in all industries. Two-thirds of jobs created in the last decade require either high or moderate digital skills. Employers are looking for familiarity with the exact systems they're using, such as Marketo for digital marketing, Salesforce for customer relations management and Netsuite for jobs in finance. Even for basic office work these days, you need to know how to use word processing and spreadsheet software.
A certified course in these business software platforms is more likely to get you hired than a 4-year college degree; and it's a lot cheaper, too.
Check out Next Step U for training in Microsoft Office programs (Word, Excel, etc.) and Computer Numerical Control.
2. Soft skills
In a recent Wall Street Journal survey, 89% of company executives said they have a hard time finding management and leadership skills, especially among younger workers who may be technically prepared but have no experience of working with others. There are only two ways to acquire those skills: learning on the job or getting education in that specific area.
A Next Step U course in administrative assistant, warehouse supervisor or industrial frontline supervisor would look great on your resume.
3. Other high demand fields
According to monster.com, these careers are in the top 10 for skills shortages:
Medical and health care
Skilled trades such as electrician, plumber, machinist or carpenter
Technicians in health services, telecommunications and environmental businesses
Transportation, especially heavy equipment drivers
Community services and social workers
Engineering and architecture
If you want to get a specialist degree or certificate in these fields, you may need to complete your GED first. Next Step U can help you prepare for the test with free basic English and Math courses.