The digital age is making the world more technology-centric and, consequently, more efficient. Workers are becoming more productive, which makes businesses and organizations operate optimally. Right?
It is true that technology is making companies more efficient. However, with that technological progression comes a steep learning curve for workers who were trained in practices of the past. Many companies choose to replace their workers with newly educated talent, but the cost of layoffs and subsequent recruitment can be substantial — not to mention, it puts a worker out of a job.
In fact, in today’s historically tight job market, this isn’t just an unattractive option for many companies — it’s not an option at all. According to a report by the Society for Human Resource Management, 83 percent of businesses have struggled to find the right talent in the past 12 months. Moreover, 35 percent of businesses felt that candidates did not have the right technical skills for the job.
Only recently have businesses started to catch on to a tool to alleviate this problem: external training firms.
Woz U is an Arizona-based Education as a Service (EaaS) firm dedicated to eliminating the employer skill gap. With over 2,000 hours of content modularized into digestible learning objectives, Woz U provides businesses and universities with training curriculum in software development, data analysis and cybersecurity.
“The ultimate goal is: how do we really reach into those segments of people and help them move into those new careers?” said Jacob Mayhew, CEO of Woz U. “Even today, you go down to the movie theater and half of it’s done by computers now — there are no humans there, but there’s a ton of humans on the backside doing all the programming and all the cybersecurity and all the data analysis. So how do we help them get the high demand skills as quick as possible to close that skills gap?”
When working with employers, Woz U first analyzes their primary skill vacancies — once that’s uncovered, they develop a surrounding curriculum to train the employees. Depending on the company’s needs, training sessions can range from a few weeks to a few months.
Woz U creates a mutually beneficial system for both employers and employees. When workers are taught new skills, they become more productive, which creates more value for a company. In many cases, this leads to an increase in the worker’s compensation. In fact, Mayhew mentions that workers who add digital enhancement to their resume typically receive a 20 percent salary lift.
And for businesses, an increase in productivity is crucial to improving profit margins. Harvard Business Review research found that “the best companies are more than 40 percent more productive than the rest,” which has led to operating margins 30 to 50 percent better than their competitors. Laying off workers, hiring new ones and training them is a surefire way to reduce overall business productivity.
“If I have 20 seats empty, then that’s costing me income because I’m not able to execute for my clients that are hiring me; that chair is empty,” Mayhew said. “Deloitte has this awesome business down in Chandler, and if they could fill all those chairs, imagine how many clients they could service. On the business side, I think it costs you revenue because you’re not able to service all the clients you want to service or as quickly as you want to service them.”
To ensure they stay up-to-date with technological growth, Woz U updates its curriculum every two weeks. And for students of Woz U, the company has a “Woz. For. Life” commitment, meaning students can access updated lessons any time they want, even after graduation.
This is also crucial for employers because it ensures that their workers constantly have the newest skills that must be employed in their jobs.
“What’s important too is these guys can be obsolete in 18 months, or their skill-set if they learned something 18 months ago that was relevant,” said Joe Heinl, executive director of marketing and communications for Woz U. “That’s why they’ll constantly be reiterating and constantly be real-time and dynamic. It’s advantageous for the employee, as well, during this ‘Woz. For. Life’ program to keep updated because things may have changed with the job that they baselined on 18 months prior.”
In the same study by the Society for Human Resource Management, 75 percent of businesses having difficulty recruiting believe there is a skills shortage among their applicants. In fact, 50 percent of all respondents believe that the skills shortage has worsened in their organization in the last two years. Of the most-voted missing skills, data analysis placed second — one of Woz U’s primary curriculum offerings.
Woz U works with universities, institutions and businesses of all sizes. In addition to their online platform, they also have on-site training and a mentorship program that enhances learning for its partners at no added cost.
Technology is ever-changing, and with it, so are companies’ needs. Staying ahead of the curve and developing high-demand skills like data analysis, software development and cybersecurity is crucial in the workforce, for both employers and employees. Woz U is here to help both parties stay ahead of that curve.
“We know we’re not going to be able to solve the whole problem, right, but we want to help with that transition,” Mayhew said.
Photo courtesy of Woz U