Corporate Voices for Working Families has joined Silicon Valley technical start up company, LearnUp, and the California Community College system to make a commitment at CGI America – an annual event focused on finding solutions that promote economic recovery in the United States. Our partnership announcement is a new commitment that aligns with the mission of CGI America “To develop solutions that address unemployment, prepare Americans to be competitive global citizens, and rethink current models that shape our economy and society.”

The partnership between Corporate Voices, the California Community College system and LearnUp unveils an innovative approach to address the nation’s troubling skills gap. Through LearnUp’s online job skills training platform, national employers are able to share training content with job seekers, including over 100,000 students at community colleges across California. The platform will enable students to gain the skills employers expect and require in today’s dynamic economy, track their progress on a “skills resume”, and connect directly with companies for job opportunities. Already, some of the nation’s leading employers, including Staples, Safeway, Whole Foods, Gap and KPMG—a Corporate Voices partner company–are using LearnUp’s tools.

“LearnUp has the potential to not only bridge the skills gap for employers, but to also offer content guidance to our community college partners across the country,” said John Wilcox, Executive Director of Corporate Voices. “Our members look to us for best-practice business solutions, and we think this partnership will help serve their most pressing talent needs.”

Corporate Voices’ expertise derives from a decade of research on how the business community can address the nation’s talent crisis and create a globally competitive workforce. We have long been a leader in identifying and promoting innovative “Learn and Earn” partnerships across the country that are doing just that-enabling individuals to continue working while pursuing and completing their postsecondary education. Our Learn and Earn micro business case study series documents a range of these best-practice partnerships across all sectors, often between businesses and community colleges. And, in a forthcoming research report, A Talent Development Solution: Exploring Business Drivers and Returns in Learn and Earn Partnerships, we explore diverse models companies are using to meet their bottom-line talent needs and to support employees working to advance their education and improve their skills. The report’s Early Findings and key recommendations were released last month.

“There’s a tremendous skills gap in the country,”Alexis Ringwald, co-founder and CEO of LearnUp recently said in a recent Forbes article. “Technology is changing so quickly it’s hard for a curriculum to adapt.”

“Working with LearnUp and Corporate Voices gives us greater visibility into the evolving skill sets and needs of a specific industry sector,” said Van Ton-Quinlivan, Vice Chancellor of Workforce and Economic Development of California’s Community Colleges. “LearnUp offers a fresh and innovative approach to how business and education can work together to close the skills gap,” Ton-Quinlivan said.

Creating these partnerships helps to bridge the skills gap for employers, while encouraging and/or supporting current and future employees’ attainment of postsecondary credentials with labor market value – the most significant benchmark for achieving economic stability. Corporate Voices is expanding this partnership to reach more businesses across the country. If you would like more information on joining the partnership please email me at pwalton@corporatevoices.org.