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JFFLabs Highlights Innovators Who Are Changing the Education and Training Paradigm

June 16, 2021

At a Glance

With support from the Workday Foundation, JFFLabs took a deep dive into the complex and evolving market of alternative education and training options for adult learners.

Contributors
Alex Swartsel Managing Director
Steve Yadzinski Vice President
Practices & Centers
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Think back to the last time you experienced truly transformative learning.

Perhaps you enrolled in an online class just to fulfill a professional development requirement and soon found yourself exploring an incredible curriculum with a dynamic instructor who led you to new ways of thinking. Or you may have asked colleagues for help when you just needed to solve a minor problem and ended up collaborating on an innovative solution that streamlined your team’s productivity. Or perhaps a casual chat with a new coworker turned into an ongoing conversation in which you both inspired each other with new ideas and insights.

Learning can happen in unexpected ways in unexpected places. It’s a lifelong process that continues long after we earn a high school diploma, a college degree, or that first professional credential. In some cases, learning that happens later in life completely replaces what we learned in classrooms as teenagers or young adults.

Lifelong learning is essential in today’s ever-evolving economy. Workers must continually pursue training and education opportunities throughout their careers to ensure they have the most in-demand skills. And employers—recognizing that talent will always be their greatest asset—must make sure that their employees have every opportunity to keep their skills up to date.

Importantly, hiring managers and executives are beginning to recognize that a four-year college degree isn’t the only credential that signifies that someone is “qualified” for a particular position. Across all industries, employers are turning to nondegree training and education programs and platforms to help employees meet lifelong learning needs.

High-quality nondegree training programs are creating new career pathways for adult learners who may not have had access to four-year college degree programs. They’re also giving employers access to new pipelines of untapped talent.

With the generous support of The Workday Foundation, JFFLabs took a deep dive into the complex and evolving market of alternative learning solutions, and we’re now releasing a market scan focusing on providers of high-quality nondegree training programs and platforms that have a measurable impact on workers’ wage and employment prospects.

We reviewed more than 1,000 providers to select those whose offerings and business practices met these criteria: They are transparent about the outcomes their solutions yielded for both workers and employers, and they offer relevant training experiences that are inclusive, effective, and future-focused. After careful analysis, we organized the market into six segments based on the types of training and education options providers offer and selected 15 Innovators to Watch. These providers do more than deliver instructional content; they also adopt innovative business models, find creative ways to use the latest technologies, forge partnerships that enable them to scale and enhance their offerings, and build support systems that help adult learners juggling competing responsibilities to focus on their training.

These providers are working to change the education and training paradigm by building a network of accessible pathways that adults can access throughout their careers, and by creating a reliable infrastructure that employers can tap to recruit, develop, and retain workers from diverse talent pools. They are filling an important need in a labor market where employers recognize that learning and development initiatives are no longer “nice to have” corporate perks—they are the key to building a resilient workforce and adaptable organizations.

Be sure to read the latest JFFLabs market scan, Learning as an Experience, to discover how high-quality workforce education and training is driving business outcomes for companies and creating new professional development opportunities for workers.

Read the Full Scan
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