UCF and Others Help Workforces Reskill and Upskill for Tomorrow
If you are reading this article, odds are you are a working professional — or were, until recently. It’s also likely you are acutely aware of a critical challenge facing most organizations today: keeping up to date with the knowledge and skills needed as the Fourth Industrial Revolution unfolds.
Technologies are converging and fusing to drive transformative changes in how we live, work and even play. How often do you read about new products or services and find it challenging to understand them, much less how they can benefit your organization? Artificial intelligence, blockchain, data science, virtual and augmented reality, robotics, 3D printing, the Internet of Things, and advanced materials are all areas of rapidly evolving innovation driving the creation of new products and services and ways of doing business.
And it’s not just technical skills that are needed. Creativity, critical thinking, emotional intelligence and an entrepreneurial mindset are just as important to effectively adapt to and benefit from the rapid changes taking place today.
That means you and your organization have to change as well. If you are going to future-proof your organization, you have to ensure you and your team have the right mix of skills to keep pace. The Monster.com 2020 annual survey revealed that 80% of employers say they have difficulty filling positions because of skills gaps. “Reskilling” to help workers transition into new and emerging career paths is critical to fill that void. A recent Gartner survey found that 58% of current employees need new skills to successfully do their jobs. That’s why “upskilling” is becoming increasingly important to every organization for every employee.
There are reasons why your hometown university — the University of Central Florida (UCF) — has for five years in a row been ranked by U.S. News & World Report as one of the nation’s most innovative schools. Key reasons are the responsiveness of UCF to the needs of our region’s employers and residents, its constant attention to equipping our students for tomorrow’s jobs, and the degree of accessibility to education.
If you are a manager who recognizes the need for education and training for your employees, you will find resources readily available through UCF. Dozens of organizations partner with UCF for on-site, virtual or hybrid education and training in specific areas of need. UCF Continuing Education offers 400+ courses across a surprising array of categories: arts, engineering and technology, insurance, law, leadership, health care, project management and much more.
Perhaps you want to upskill with additional education yourself. With 91 master’s degrees and a wide variety of certificate and continuing education programs, UCF offers lots of options. Want to up your game as a manager? UCF has four MBA options available. Other business graduate programs include accounting, economics, sports business management, business analytics and human resources. This year UCF launched master’s degrees in the growing fields of computer vision, themed experiences, and cybersecurity and privacy.
UCF offers more than 40 graduate certificate programs in areas like cyber risk management, financial technology, data analytics, technology for smart communities, applied photonics, optical imaging systems, data modeling and mixed reality engineering.
Many of UCF’s programs offer online course options, providing flexibility for working professionals whose schedules and personal commitments make attending classes in person challenging. UCF Online offers more than 100 programs for students seeking programs that are completely virtual.
UCF short courses are often delivered in partnership with industry such as courses in simulation and training with AVT Simulation. BDI Datalynk is the partner for a fiber optics network certification. Avionica delivers an avionics technician training program.
Boot camps provide 18- to 24-week intensive and comprehensive programs to help you or your employees grow in a current role or find a new opportunity. Boot camps are offered in coding, cybersecurity, data analytics and visualization, UX/UI design, digital marketing and more.
We probably all know someone — or maybe we are that someone — who lost his or her job during the pandemic. Many of those jobs will not come back for a long time, if ever. A lot of people are looking for opportunities to reskill and take advantage of the hiring boom in other industries. UCF has partnered with JPMorgan Chase and Microsoft Corporation, which together donated $550,000 to offer a new online job skills program to residents who lost full-time jobs in the hospitality or leisure industries. By helping to reskill participants with customer service and sales training, the program will provide many local industries with needed employees.
The bottom line: In today’s rapidly changing, technologically driven, multigenerational workforce economy, you cannot afford to neglect education and training for yourself and your employees if you want to survive. We’d love to support your needs through UCF. But wherever you are, your local college or university offers surprising options for you, your current workforce and your future workforce.
UCF Executive Director of Continuing Education Sean Armstrong and UCF Director of Media Relations Heather Smith contributed to this article.