Skillful goes live in Colorado, giving employers access to broader talent pool

By Andrew Palmer | Mar 28, 2016

Every manufacturer in our state is looking for ways to stay competitive, and that often starts with having the best talent. Easier said than done. That's why Part 1 and Part 2 of our workforce series have focused on actionable opportunities. This week, we will continue to add to the manufacturers' workforce toolkit by introducing a new online platform that you can use to find and hire skilled workers.

Launching this month in Colorado, Skillful is a new skills-based platform that values people's skills, not just degrees, and which supports lifelong learning in today's rapidly changing economy. Colorado is the first state to gain access to this network that will help some of the fastest growing industries in Colorado -- advanced manufacturing and information technology.

Skillful works with employers to offer innovative tools and advisors to broaden their talent pool by helping them create skills-based job descriptions and to hire workers based on the core skills needed for the job. The platform will help employers connect with qualified middle-skill job seekers: individuals with a high school diploma, but not a four-year degree.

Using national data from LinkedIn and Burning Glass as well as regional expertise from CAMA and other industry associations, Skillful has identified the characteristics of the top 10 jobs with the most growth potential in each of these sectors. Employers can work with Skillful to upload open positions; access local resources including job fairs and industry groups; and improve their job descriptions by focusing on the skills required for jobs rather than just degrees.

"Skillful is a new opportunity for people who don't have a college diploma to show the skills they have and to get connected to great jobs," said Zoë Baird, CEO and president of the Markle Foundation. "Sixty-two percent of Coloradans don't have a college degree, but they have great skills. Jobs are changing so dramatically because of technology and globalization. Skillful is going to provide new paths for people to show that they have the skills to get jobs that have income growth potential and the opportunity to move in new directions."

Employers will be able to better connect with local education and training institutions, which can then tailor programs to ensure workers have the skills and knowledge to be successful. This will lead to a much broader talent pool of qualified employees across industries.

Many Colorado employers have already signed the Skillful pledge committing to shifting their hiring and training practices toward a skills-based model, including Reata Engineering, SPIRE Manufacturing, and RK.

"I have long wished there was a platform for trades and middle skilled individuals, which is why I'm so excited about the launch of Skillful to answer this need," said RK Talent Acquisition Manager Holly Reed. "With a lack of candidate pools for advanced manufacturing and trade job opportunities, as employers we must look at how we hire differently. Instead of only looking at experience, we need to be open to bringing individuals into our organizations that have the knowledge, training, skills, and abilities to do the job well. We have moved to competency and skill based hiring for many of our positions, and the Skillful platform allows us and the job seekers to connect based on these competencies and skills."

Skillful is working with national partners including LinkedIn, edX, and Arizona State University, and regional partners like the State of Colorado, the Colorado Workforce Development Council and workforce centers, CAMA, the Colorado Technology Association, and Goodwill Industries of Denver to expand Colorado's ongoing effort to develop cutting-edge skills programs in the state.

We're excited by the possibilities this innovative platform and collaboration offers Colorado's advanced manufacturing industry.

Please contact CAMA's Andrew Palmer for more information about any of the opportunities detailed above.