Workforce Readiness
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What is Workforce Readiness?

Workforce readiness is ensuring new and returning workplace entrants are prepared to enter the workforce with the requisite knowledge, skills, abilities, and attributes in order to engage in endeavors that will be required in their respective occupations. Partnerships and alliances between educational institutions, governmental entities, nonprofits and employers can assist in ensuring that these new workforce entrants are sufficiently prepared to meet the challenges and opportunities they face in the workplace.

Why are HR professionals the key to Workforce Readiness success?

Human Resource professionals are uniquely suited to address many of the challenges raised by workforce readiness issues. HR professionals can play a strategic role in helping employers formulate exacting standards for workforce skills, capabilities and attributes that the employer community needs. Additionally, the HR community can take the lead in coalition building to articulate the need for developing rigorous standards, which can be shared throughout the business community and serve as a basis for advocacy of workforce readiness efforts. HR professionals can bring their quantitative skills to help develop programs to improve workforce readiness and to evaluate models and pilot programs to ensure their effectiveness and adaptability in meeting current needs and their ability to anticipate future needs.

Mile High SHRM has partnered with SHRM and COSHRM in supporting workforce readiness as a critical initiative since 2010.

How does Workforce Readiness develop essential employability skills?

Where will HR professionals find the talent their organizations need now and in the future? We all know there are plenty of applicants, but finding qualified applicants with the right skills is a challenge. Mile High SHRM is addressing the talent gap in our community through the Workforce Readiness Initiative with the help of the Workforce Readiness Committee.

How does education increase economic security?

Adult education and literacy programs provide pathways out of poverty. More than 300,000 working-age Coloradans lack a high school diploma or GED.

Despite the need for workers with post-secondary training and skills in our workforce, roughly one in 10 Coloradans do not have a GED or high school diploma.1 Many of these individuals do not have the basic literacy or numeracy skills to enroll in job skills training. In fact, almost 40 percent of low-income working families in Colorado have a parent without a GED or high school diploma.2

A clear link exists between an individual's level of education and his or her annual earnings. In 2011, 25 percent of Coloradans without a high school diploma were living in poverty while just five percent of people with a bachelor's degree were in poverty.

Colorado has a significant “middle-skills gap.” Middle-skill jobs are those that require some post-secondary education or training but less than a four-year degree. These positions make up 47 percent of Colorado’s jobs, but only 36 percent of Colorado workers have the training necessary to fill them.3

This is not a short-term problem: two-thirds of today’s working Coloradans will still be in the workforce in 2025. Projections also indicate that by 2025, two-thirds of all jobs will require some level of post-secondary education or technical skill training.4 Post-secondary education and credential attainment is increasingly central to the ability of adults to earn family-sustaining wages, participate more fully in Colorado’s twenty-first century workforce, and contribute to our state’s economic health and vitality.

1CCLP's State of Working Colorado 2013 reports this number at 8 percent of workers over the age of 25. The Bell Policy Center's 2013 Measuring Opportunities for Working Families report states 10.4 percent of all Coloradans aged 18 to 64 did not have a GED or high school diploma. Both these reports use data from 2012.

2In 2012, 38 percent of low-income working families had a parent without a GED or high school diploma. Colorado is ranked 43rd in the nation on this measure. See Hallgren, Kathleen, Green, Cortney, Jones, Rich, and Waterous, Frank. Measuring Opportunities for Working Families. The Bell Policy Center, 2013.

3 Calculated by National Skills Coalition from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Calculated by National Skills Coalition from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Helpful Resources

Workforce Readiness Home | Committee Members | Partners and Agencies | Volunteer Opportunities

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Mile High SHRM
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