Upskilling for the 21st Century


At Raytheon Professional Services (RPS) we regularly see the significant impact vocational training has on building a more relevant and ready workforce. We even wrote a while back about how apprenticeships– one of the most effective forms of vocational training– can reduce unemployment. The same is true of upskilling, which is the practice of teaching employees how to grow their skill sets and capabilities.

In the UK, pre-employment programs and improving entry level worker skills has been a focus for some time. In fact, the country recently marked the occasion with National Apprenticeship Week. According to the National Apprenticeship Services, the week celebrates “apprenticeships and the positive impact they have on individuals, businesses and the wider economy.”

While there is not a designated week to celebrate apprenticeships in the U.S., there are efforts underway to fill the skills gaps in the workforce by helping workers gain the education they need to actually do the jobs that are required and available in today’s marketplace. In the 2015 State of the Union address, President Obama announced the formation of UpSkill America, an employer-led initiative that seeks to expand economic opportunity for workers here in the U.S. With well recognized members, such as the The Aspen Institute Skills for America’s Future, UpSkill America is gaining traction and its mission clearly frames the foundation for what is still to be accomplished here in the U.S.

UpSkill America’s coalition of business, education, and workforce training organizations has a three-part mission:

1)      Recognize leading employers that provide expanded career opportunities for their workers.
2)      Promote the widespread adoption of business policies and practices that increase economic opportunity.
3)      Cultivate education and workforce development efforts that support and advance these initiatives.

At RPS, we work hand-in-hand with our customers and partners to create career opportunities and improve workforce development to positively impact the bottom line. In fact, last year we launched Shifting Gears, an Automotive Technician Training Program, a multi-year partnership between Raytheon, the U.S. Army and General Motors to train eligible soldiers to become GM service technicians when they transition to civilian life. This type of vocational training program enables GM to build the ideal skill set required to meet their dealerships’ technician needs.

We understand the need to create more opportunities for both employees and employers to succeed by making the most of training experiences. We see the Upskill America initiative as an important step with the potential to make a significant impact in the development of targeted educational programs here in the U.S. — programs that will have a positive and lasting impact on the nation’s economy.

For more information on RPS’ vocational training and apprenticeship offerings, read these posts:

What are your thoughts on the UpSkill America initiative? Are you implementing new apprenticeship or customized training programs to improve the skills of your workforce?