Linda D Bloomberg


With the complex and ever-changing business and employment environments, learners are being prepared for jobs that may no longer exist, while others are not acquiring the skills needed for the in-demand jobs to which they aspire. Given the future of workplace demands, there are strong indications that non-degree certifications and just-in-time education are likely to increase in status and value, with the concept of stackable skills rapidly gaining acceptance so that graduates can enter the workforce with robust and relevant foundational skills. Upskilling and reskilling opportunities have a significant potential to supplement traditional degrees and will empower learners to pursue multiple career paths because these learned skills—both soft skills and hard skills—are transferable. Online and hybrid learning experiences—with the vast increases in access as well as complexity—present higher education with immense forward-thinking opportunities by offering customized and individualized upskilling and reskilling programs in partnership with employers. The indications are that employers are relying not only on college education but are exploring alternate educational pathways to employment. Collaboration between higher ed and employees can serve to capitalize on skills and experience that the current labor market is demanding. This could include emerging technologies such as AI, as well as culturally-driven competencies such as diversity and inclusion. In light of the rapidly evolving workplace, this article addresses ways in which higher education can adapt to the changing needs of the labor market in order to meet employer expectations. Through understanding what it means to transform the culture of higher education into a learning-rich environment, we will intentionally and thoughtfully offer continuous learning opportunities, cultivate clearly defined educational pathways, and reinvent career trajectories that will keep pace with the jobs of tomorrow, thereby shaping and supporting access, equity, success, and innovation for the road ahead.