Home > WIOA, Workforce Development > Do You Believe in Upskilling?

Do You Believe in Upskilling?

WIOA says Upskill2“Upskilling” involves work-based training and coaching that results in the growth of an organization’s talent pool by promoting from within. Upskilling, and the visible awareness of opportunities for promotion, reduces employee turnover and increases job-satisfaction. As a strong proponent of Career Management, I encourage career-minded individuals to continually look for opportunities for skill and developmental growth. If your employer provides access to training workshops and courses, take advantage of it. If they provide tuition assistance, grab it! Always keep your eye on 2 or 3 other positions in your company you’d be interested in doing. Depending on the level of responsibility of your current position, your next career move (whether a lateral move or a promotion) should happen every 2 to 5 years. When I was in my early 20s I left my position as an Account Clerk at a small health clinic to take a position as a Messenger working for Chevron Corporation in downtown San Francisco. I literally “pounded the pavement” every day. After a few months, I was given the opportunity to work on a special assignment in Messenger Dispatch. When that assignment ended, I went back to pounding the pavement. Before the week ended, the corporate mailroom requested for me to fill-in for someone who was out ill. I ended up working in the corporate mailroom for the next 6 months. As soon as I reached my required time-in-service, I began applying for other positions. Within no time I went from the mailroom to the 19th floor of one of Chevron’s executive offices. I became the Receptionist of the International Oil Division. While working in this position I noticed two times of day when foot traffic slowed and the executives rarely needed my assistance. I used those times to self-teach myself Lotus 123 and to study my Accounting terms, t-accounts and formulas. Once again when I reached my time-in-service I applied to work in Accounts Payable. I nailed that promotion on the first attempt! From there I promoted multiple times within Chevron’s Financial Services department. At that time Chevron had a robust Training & Development department complete with a computer-based (self-paced) training lab as-well-as regularly scheduled trainer-led workshops. I took advantage of both. Chevron had a tuition assistance program that reimbursed employees 75% of the cost for college tuition and books. I did that too! My career path at Chevron occurred over a 9.5 year-span. I never stopped ‘upskilling’ and I never stopped promoting to higher positions. It only ended when Chevron offered early retirement packages as a part of their downsizing efforts. At the age of 30 I took the package so I could finish college and start a new career in the education industry. Part of the package included one more year of college fees reimbursements. Of course I took advantage of that too. Upskilling works! The WIOA (Workforce Innovation & Opportunity Act) legislation aims to encourage more emphasis on upskilling. I hope to hear many stories of organizations and individuals seizing the opportunity WIOA funding creates. I encourage you not to be so consumed with your current work that you neglect to fuel your future. If your current employer creates barriers (instead of pathways) to your professional development it’s time to look for something new. As I always say…

“It’s YOUR career – you take care of it!”

Vice President Joe Biden speaks very well about upskilling. Listen here.

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