Skip to content

How to Build Digital Talent With Earn and Learn Training

November 17, 2022

At a Glance

What small and medium-sized businesses need to know about using earn and learn training to build reliable sources of talent.

Contributors Practices & Centers

As they struggle to fill jobs in today’s tight labor market, small and medium-sized businesses are finding that it’s more important than ever to have access to reliable sources of talent.

And the need for pipelines filled with skilled workers who are prepared to make an impact on day one is especially urgent when it comes to filling digital jobs. Demand for IT professionals and workers for other roles that require digital skills is perennially strong in every sector of the economy. And in that market, smaller companies may find themselves at a disadvantage as they compete against bigger employers with deeper pockets for a limited supply of talent.

How can you find the right people in this challenging environment? You’ll need to cast a wide net and consider candidates you may not previously have had on your radar.

Earn and learn programs can help.

Earn and learn models of training and development are a powerful way to meet your need for talent. They’re designed for workers who want to earn money in full-time jobs while learning new skills that lead to better jobs. Participants are employees who contribute immediately to the company’s needs as they learn skills and apply them in the workplace. Many grow into valuable long-term employees.

These programs also offer employers a great way to diversify their workforces by engaging members of populations that have been underrepresented in professions that offer good pay and opportunities for economic advancement, including Black, Latinx, and Indigenous workers and women of all backgrounds.

Jobs for the Future (JFF) and the SkillUp Coalition developed this toolkit to help you harness the potential of earn and learn training. It’s designed to introduce companies with less than 500 employees to these common earn and learn models:

  • Paid Internships
  • Registered Apprenticeships
  • On-the-Job Training
Read the Full Toolkit
Learn More

Related Content

Impact Story


JFFLabs is the Jobs for the Future innovation lab—we catalyze new ways to achieve our mission at JFF and with our partners. JFFLabs is the Jobs for the Future innovation lab—we catalyze new ways to…

April 12, 2018

Building Effective Technology Internships

A three-year study that JFF conducted for the National Science Foundation shows that community college technology internships can be effective bridges to employment for postsecondary students. The research showed that when internships were required for…

March 24, 2022
Impact Story

Center for Apprenticeship & Work-Based Learning

This tried-and-true training model has been around for so long because it works. JFF is a leader in expanding apprenticeship and work-based learning to new industries and professions. This tried-and-true training model has been around…

April 12, 2018