An online job-hunting platform dedicated to helping those without college degrees find skills-based jobs, officially launched Thursday in Colorado, the first state to have access to the service.
Called Skillful, the service combines online tools and on-the-ground resources to connect job-hunters to jobs and training. It also works with employers to offer tools and advisors to broaden their talent pool by creating skills-based job descriptions.
Skillful is an initiative of the Markle Foundation, a New York-based nonprofit focused on technology, healthcare, and national security.
Colorado agencies involved in the program include the state of Colorado, the Colorado Workforce Development Council and workforce centers, the Colorado Advanced Manufacturing Alliance, the Colorado Technology Association and Goodwill Industries. Skillful also works with LinkedIn, Civis Analytics and North Star Opinion Research to develop its resources.
Gov. John Hickenlooper, LinkedIn co-founder Allen Blue and Zoe Baird, CEO of the Markle Foundation, gathered at the Emily Griffith Technical College in Denver to announce the launch. Emily Griffith is one of the education organizations with which Skillful will collaborate.
“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,” Baird said. “Sixty-two percent of Coloradans don’t have a college degree, but they have great skills. Skillful will create more career paths for those without a college degree. At the same time, it is providing businesses across the state with direct access to the skilled employees they need to fill their open positions."
Skillful is directed at middle-skill job-seekers, or those with a high school diploma but not a four-year degree.
Forty percent of Colorado's "top jobs," or those with high annual openings and above-average growth rates, do not require a four-year degree, according to a report issued by the state.
“Colorado has long been committed to ensuring our workers have access to the skills they need to get ahead and Skillful provides a powerful new tool for job seekers to do that,” Hickenlooper said. “We are honored to be the first state to gain access to Skillful, which builds on our efforts to promote skills-based training and hiring in Colorado. It will help keep our state competitive both nationally and globally.”
Following its Colorado opening, the service will go live in Phoenix in April.
Locations are chosen based on their track record and commitment to job and opportunity creation, education and innovation, as well as their commitment to partnerships aimed at improving the lives of their residents, according to a release from Skillful.
“We are engaged with Skillful to help build out a qualified pipeline of employees who we know will be a strong fit for our company,” said Barbara Brannen, vice president of human resources at Pinnacol Assurance, the state-charter workers-compensation insurer. "Skillful will allow us to better describe the specific skills required of potential employees. This means less time trying to fill a job and happier, more productive workers which benefits us all.”