Education to Employment: Make Your Voice Heard

Education to Employment


Education to Employment It’s not a secret that jobs are difficult to fill in these times. A better education-to-employment ecosystem could help lessen that burden on employers generally and small businesses in particular.

Representatives from Congress, and educators, as well as federal, state, and local officials, are willing to have HR experts speak to them about what they need to do to ensure that more students can be prepared to enter the workforce and thrive. A few interested parties discussed the issue at “E-Squared Education to Employment: Building an Ecosystem for Talent Development that works for everyone,” an SHRM Annual Conference & Expo mega session that was an interactive panel, which took place in New Orleans on June 12.

Education to Employment

“Don’t be timid” regarding making your requirements public, advised the former Rep. Bradley Byrne, from the state of Alabama.

Byrne holds more than twenty years of public service and has firsthand experience in developing the pipeline for talent and shaping policies at all levels of the government. He was an elected representative to the Alabama State Board of Education and also the Alabama State Senate and was appointed the chancellor of Alabama’s 2-year college system.

He served for four sessions within Congress, the U.S. House of Representatives. His educational background and experience as an employment and labor lawyer were a perfect fit for the Education and Labor Committee, of which he was a part. He worked on important issues in conjunction with his colleagues from the U.S. Department of Education and developed federal policies to aid in apprenticeship and training for workers.

Community colleges, particularly pay attention to the workforce councils, Byrne remarked. “Tell them what abilities you require,” he recommended, and employers might end up finding students with these skills.

University Reaches Out to Employers

At Strayer University, which has 60 campuses, the university’s administrators observed a disconnection between the workforce and education. “Relevancy isn’t evergreen” however it is “constantly changing,” said Andrea Backman Strayer’s president.

After speaking with employers about their requirements, “we took the general curriculum and tore it down,” she said. For instance, the subject of history is not taught as a separate subject instead, the two subjects are taught in conjunction.

Backman was previously chief employment officer at Strayer’s parent business, Strategic Education Inc. In this role, she was responsible for closing the gap between students and employers and ensuring students get a return on their education. Strayer is a school for mothers who work as well as students who returned to school after having quit the educational system, and those who have been previously in jail.

Backman stated that the university is home to a “massive supply of talented people” and wants to connect its students to employers to offer them the “pathway towards a better lifestyle.”

Tell Congress What’s Working and What’s Broken

Rep. Troy Carter, D-La. He urged the attendees to inform the reps “what’s working and what’s not. We’re here to help.”

Carter advised employers to offer more paid internships. He said that the majority of students cannot afford to pay for internships.

Carter added to the effect that “more individuals should focus on explaining to students what they’ve done wrong, instead of always telling them telling them what they did right.” Carter explained that students must be aware they are on there is a “road towards success paved by failure, and that’s fine.”


Emily M. Dickens, J.D., the Society for Human Resource Management’s (SHRM’s) chief of staff, director of government affairs as well as corporate secretary, moderated the session. She pointed out the fact that SHRM Foundation has an apprenticeship program. SHRM Foundation has an apprenticeship program for HR professionals.

She urged people to voice their opinions whether it was through joining workforce development boards or running for city council, school board, or any other elected offices.

This kind of time-sharing–gaining an audience vital to giving greater voice to HR professionals’ issues, Dickens noted.

Shannon Gordon, CEO of River Edge Behavioral Health in Macon, Ga., is chair of her community’s workforce advisory board. She said at the SHRM Conference Today that she believes that employers can be more effective in engaging with people who have been out of work for a long period.

Byrne declared that the strength of America U.S. “is our people. Be attentive at all levels. There’s no reason not to grow to be more.”


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