July 9, 2020 – Economic Progress

New coalition will connect displaced workers to new jobs and upskilling opportunities


According to the U.S. Labor Department, nearly 18 million Americans are out of work and another nine million are working part-time, but want full time work. A recent McKinsey report found that more than 80 percent of the jobs vulnerable to this pandemic are held by low-income workers.

These men and women are trying to reorient themselves during exceedingly uncertain times. For many, low-cost education and training opportunities would put them in a stronger position to find meaningful work. Known as “upskilling,” obtaining additional education and training based on their existing aptitudes will be important for workers to remain competitive and push the boundaries of their potential.

To empower people seeking new skills, the Charles Koch Foundation has joined the SkillUp Coalition as a founding member.

A partnership between leading training and education providers, employers, technology developers, and job readiness nonprofits, the SkillUp Coalition aims to connect millions of Americans to new skills that help them secure in-demand jobs with promising career paths. SkillUp will connect millions of users with the information, resources, and training opportunities that fit their specific needs. It will accomplish this goal by utilizing a web app that includes career navigation aligned with rapidly changing labor market needs; training programs that match participants’ career goals and include financial support to cover tuition costs; and job placement support, including aid in the job search and interview prep and coaching.

SkillUp will focus on supporting displaced workers earning less than $40,000 a year, a population that is disproportionately people of color, women, and individuals who have not earned a four-year college degree.

“In launching the SkillUp Coalition, we’re prepared to provide this solution by bringing together the best in training and education, employment, technology, and the nonprofit sector to re-skill and re-employ frontline workers who have been disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic,” explained Josh Jarrett, executive chairman of the SkillUp Coalition.

Coalition partners represent a broad cross section of organizations, including Southern New Hampshire University, Paschall Truck Lines, Strada Education Network, and The Project on Workforce at the Harvard Kennedy School’s Malcolm Wiener Center.

SkillUp will broaden postsecondary education opportunities by helping frontline workers select and prepare for career paths in sectors that are expected to grow significantly, including health care, technology, and business. To help workers navigate the financial and emotional challenges that can prevent them from completing their training and finding work, the SkillUp experience also includes connections to coaching resources.

“In these unprecedented times, the SkillUp Coalition is working to connect millions of Americans to new jobs and upskilling opportunities right now,” said Charles Koch Foundation Executive Director Ryan Stowers. “This innovative platform empowers individuals to discover their aptitudes and develop their skills leading to jobs that are in demand. We’re proud to be a member of this coalition helping people reach their full potential.”

Click here for more information about the SkillUp Coalition and here to learn more about the platform. Interested in supporting the SkillUp Coalition scholarship fund? Click here.