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New Tech Workers Are Well Positioned To Thrive

Historically when an economy enters a recession and then recovers, people without college degrees are left behind: the first fired and last re-hired. But this time we’re seeing something different.

This time, people like Calbright students — who don’t always have a college degree but can prove that they have the right skills — are in a position to thrive.

Good News In Uncertain Times

That’s according to research compiled by Binh Do, Calbright’s director of research, data strategy, and effectiveness.

“With all of the economic shifts that are happening in the post-pandemic recovery, especially the recent tech layoffs, everyone’s wondering how the economy is going to go and how to position themselves for it,” Do said. But after monitoring data and employment trends from the California Employment Development Department, the Public Policy Institute of California, and leading placement agencies, she’s determined that “The trends we’re seeing are good news, especially for Calbright students.”

In particular, Do identified three factors that make a strong job market for Calbright graduates:

  1. Our unemployment rate is still very low 
  2. The recovery shows ongoing signs of growth, despite tech layoffs
  3. There is a growing transition towards a skills based job market 

The first two factors are good for everyone. The third, however, is new – something we’ve never seen before, and that Calbright students are positioned to take advantage of.

Skills Based Hiring

“Companies are still growing and all of them need talent with key tech skills and digital skills,” Do said. “That hasn’t changed. What is changing is where they find them. Across many industries and sectors, employers are increasingly turning away from the requirement that employees have a college degree, and looking instead at people who can demonstrate that they can do the work.” 

As The Wall Street Journal noted, companies as diverse as Google and Delta Air Lines and state governments like Pennsylvania and Maryland “have reduced educational requirements” and “shifted hiring to focus more on skills and experience,” and the change has only picked up speed.

Together, companies and governments are beginning to shatter what is being called “The Paper Ceiling” – a limit to how many jobs, and how many good jobs, there are for people without a college degree. It’s a limit that not only hurts the estimated 70 million Americans (many of whom are people of color) who don’t have a bachelor’s degree, but also the many companies struggling to fill good jobs with people who have the right skills. Unless they can find those employees, the companies can’t grow.  

That’s one of the reasons a recent report by JFF (Jobs For the Future), showed that this year 81% of employers now think they should be hiring based on the skills someone has rather than whether they have a diploma, and 68% think they should be hiring graduates of programs that don’t even award degrees, as long as the students learn the right skills.

That’s where Calbright comes in.

A New Kind of Online Community College For a New Kind of Economy

Calbright is an alternative model to traditional education, without the price tag. Calbright is an online community college that offers free college level workforce training programs that provide students the skills they need to get jobs in good paying fields like Cybersecurity, IT support, and CRM platform administration. In addition to being free, Calbright is flexible: students move through their curriculum on a schedule that works for their lives, whether that means studying first thing in the morning, during breaks at work, or after putting kids to bed at night. 

Calbright programs are also designed to be fast: by just putting a few hours in every week, students can complete their programs in under a year and be ready for the job market. 

By reimagining college, Calbright helps Californians access better jobs and California companies get the workers they need. The jobs are there, and companies are increasingly willing to hire non-traditional applicants, which could truly make this an economic recovery for everyone.  

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