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Empowering the Workforce: Why Companies Should Support Continued Learning

Learning can happen at any age, and it certainly does not need to end with a school diploma. Individuals can prioritize learning throughout their lifetime as a way to improve confidence, develop new skills, build job security, and maintain a healthy brain

One way companies can facilitate learning and empower employees is through continued education programs. These programs, often short-term and part-time, provide employees with the opportunity to upskill and explore new areas for growth. 

For companies, continued education provides effective ways to draw in new talent, encourage innovation, and fill skills gaps, among other benefits. Through continued education, both employers and employees can grow and reach their goals. 

Drawing Talent

When looking for a new employer, applicants are looking at more than the salary range. According to a 2022 Gallup poll, 58% of U.S. employees are looking for jobs that allow them to use and develop their strengths. 

For employees who want to develop their skills, deepen their knowledge, and spend their time doing what they do best, continued education opportunities represent an attractive job benefit. Companies can outline these learning opportunities in job postings, interviews, and offers of employment. 

Highlighting the benefits of continued education throughout the hiring process helps companies to attract talented individuals who are interested in ongoing growth. Companies advertising jobs with information about continued education should be prepared to answer in-depth questions about these programs during the interview process. 

Improving Employee Retention

Continued education is a priority for job candidates, but it also has a strong impact on a company’s current staff. In fact, 87% of millennials consider professional growth and development opportunities to be a contributing factor in the enjoyment of their jobs.

As a result, businesses that offer continuing education have a retention rate that is 34%  higher than businesses that do not offer these opportunities. These educational opportunities help businesses to maintain their staff long-term and develop a loyal, collaborative team. 

Maintaining high employee retention helps businesses reduce turnover costs. These costs include the time and resources it takes to advertise open positions, onboard new employees, and train new team members.  

Filling Skill Gaps

A skills gap occurs when an employer expects certain skills from current and potential employees, but those expectations differ from the actual skills available. There are many causes of skills gaps, including a lack of education, rapidly changing technology, and generational shifts. 

For example, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, there is a projected outlook of 24,300 yearly job openings for diesel service mechanics and technicians. Professionals who have spent their careers working with Cummins engines have the long-term experience and expertise to adapt to a variety of engine repairs, including the Cummins ISX engine and the Cummins N14 engine. These skills were developed over the course of a full and varied career, and filling the skills gaps that these older professionals leave behind will require dedicated professional development and training.

Widespread job openings throughout the transportation industry are fueled in part by the large population of older adults in the workforce. The youngest of the Boomer generation will reach retirement age by 2031, and every year, more of these experienced professionals leave the workforce in droves.  

Encouraging Innovation

Innovation, the act of bringing new ideas and solutions into the workplace, is essential for a business’s success. Through creative thinking and experimental actions, companies can provide new services and innovative solutions for clients. 

Continued education promotes innovation encouraging employees to be curious and creative thinkers. 

For example, if a mechanic is working with a machine they’ve never interacted with, they can innovate and create new solutions based on the lessons and skills they’ve learned in other training and workshops. 

Keeping up With Industry Trends

No matter your chosen industry, it is vital that you stay up-to-date with your specific industry’s current trends. These new trends, technologies, and advancements can provide new ways for companies to grow and serve customers. 

Falling behind on these trends means falling behind competitors and potentially losing customers who are interested in the most modern solutions. However, keeping up with industry trends can help a company to stay ahead, innovate, and grow, instead of constantly using energy trying to catch up. 

Continuing education can help employees stay up-to-date on the current best practices within their specific field. Workshops, virtual seminars, and short-term classes led by industry professionals help employees to further develop their skills with current information. 

Increasing Productivity, Engagement, and Safety

Businesses that provide continuing education experience improvements in performance and the employee experience. According to a Gallup poll of nearly 50,000 businesses, 90% of businesses see the benefits of professional development, such as: 

  • 9% to 15% increase in employee engagement;
  • 22% to 59% decrease in mistakes and safety incidents;
  • 14% to 29% increased profit;
  • 10% to 19% increased sales.

When given the opportunity to develop their skills, employees are able to work more productively, bringing in increased sales and profits. Continued education also gives employees the knowledge they need to complete their tasks using best practices with increased safety. When employers provide educational opportunities for staff, they are showing an interest in the employee’s growth and well-being. This interest increases employee engagement and job satisfaction. 

In short, businesses around the world are seeing the improvements that professional development and continued education can bring to the workplace.

Complying With Laws and Regulations

Depending on the field, certain positions will require continuing education and training to obtain required licenses and certifications.  

For example, according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, all mechanics who test drive buses, trucks, and other similar vehicles are required to have a commercial driver’s license (CDL). Depending on the state, those driving without a CDL can be charged with a misdemeanor and face hefty fines. 

Continuing education helps professionals in a variety of industries to comply with laws and regulations that ensure their safety and the safety of the people they work with. 

Companies in all industries can turn to continuing education programs as a way to prioritize lifelong learning and empower employees to strengthen their skills in an ever-changing work environment. 

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