Money Matters: Why it's a good time for job training

July 20, 2018 11:00

Sponsored by NEFE

It might be a good time to think about job training. Unemployment is low, and the number of job openings is actually greater than the number of workers available – and with the proper skills – to fill them. But at the same time, wages aren’t increasing much overall. Put that together with a new White House “Pledge to America’s Workers,” and there may be more opportunities for professional development coming workers’ ways.

The trend of jobs shifting to more digital and tech focused means workers need different skills, but most job training programs now are for younger workers, not for those in the workplace longer now looking to adapt. A new Executive Order signed Thursday encourages big businesses, unions and trade associations to focus more on apprenticeships and older workers. Many had already been planning to do so, and the new focus doesn’t include any funding. It also doesn’t apply to all employers; just 23 companies and associations signed on.

However, it’s worth taking a look at industries in your coverage are. Who are the biggest employers in your area? Do they have job openings they’re struggling to fill? Are they offering higher wages or other incentives, like job training, to try to fill them?

More broadly speaking, many of your audience might be wondering about where to find job training to grow their skills or enter new industries. Where can they look for these opportunities? Employers or trade associations? What about costs? When might it be worth it to pay out-of-pocket for training? Could it pay off with better work, or is it worth asking employers to help cover training costs?

Get more money reporting tips at Excellence in Journalism 2018, where the winners of the RTDNA/NEFE Personal Finance Reporting Awards will share their insights.  If you’ve done money stories you’re proud of, submit them by August 1 for consideration for an RTDNA/NEFE Award!