In the U.S, we have the lowest unemployment level in almost 20 decades. In actuality, the Wall Street Journal reports that, with 6.7 million unfilled jobs as of May, we now have more job openings compared to 6.3 million people that are currently unemployed.
But these stats somewhat mask a serious and significant workforce and career development challenges: ensuring that college and university graduates have the chance to learn the specialist skills required for initial employment and a prosperous career. According to NACE, the National Association of Colleges and Employers, just 80 percent of pupils landed a job (or continuing into graduate school) within six months of graduation. Moreover, Forbes reports the typical U.S. college or university grad occupies $37,000 in student loans, a sizable sum since the average starting salary of graduates is significantly less than $50,000.
Complicating this picture further is that the skill-set that scholars bring into the employment marketplace. As per a recent NACE report, most companies are especially trying to find a strong work ethic and demonstrable skills in areas difficulty solving, communication and leadership. A recent survey by McGraw-Hill points out several sobering statistics:
- Less than half of college pupils feel well prepared for their future careers.
- Although 77% of pupils feel confident in their professionalism and work ethic, just 43 percent of companies agree.
- Pupils are more confident than employers about their career development skill attainment in areas including critical thinking, problem-solving, leadership, and oral and written communications.
- Over 50% of students said more professional work experiences could have been useful in their career growth.
This final point is very germane. To replicate: more than half of students in the McGraw-Hill survey reported that professional experiences during their university years could have helped them prepare for livelihood. Jeffrey Moss, a former venture capitalist and also the creator of gift platform Parker Dewey concurs. And it is therefore that he and his team created Parker Dewey, a digital gift platform focused on freelancing and outsourcing as a route to a full-time profession in business.
Moss called the talent platform for two innovative educational philosophers, Francis Parker and John Dewey who extolled the value of experiential learning. He clarifies the objective of this three-year-old startup as a way of torquing the transition from school to career through freelance experiences which prepare students for career achievement in the workforce. It does this by connecting employers to pupils, and supplying freelance gigs - compensated work opportunities - which help pupils to earn some cash, understand employee life and profession demands, and supply companies with the opportunity to get to know prospective workers who may otherwise be another candidate in a pile of resumes.
Since turning to the platform in early 2016, companies as diverse as Microsoft, CBRE, Dell, Leo Burnett, and Barilla have hired Parker Dewey students to finish onsite or remotely performed jobs as paid freelancers. Moss reports that well over one million students from a wide assortment of schools - such as Purdue, Illinois Tech (IIT), Colby, National Louis University and the University of Michigan - have successfully placed with Parker Dewey over the past calendar year. Many have converted their freelance status into offers of full-time employment.
Microsoft's Adam Hecktman, director of technology and civic innovation, reflected on a single pupil freelance to full-time employ: "While we had been concentrated on just getting some help to a job, we quickly realized that the pupil was unbelievable... We watched her work ethic and skills, and acquired an inside track on hiring her"
Based on Moss, Parker Dewey contains three strategic aims:
- Prepare students for good jobs and premature career advancement during short-term, paid, freelancer projects or gigs that assist them to construct credentials, begin to establish their professional community and research career options throughout the experience of really doing the work.
- Supply company leaders with the chance to observe graduates in action who may not be from elite universities or might not have a 4.0 GPA, but have the"right stuff" to succeed within their own company.
- Help college career services and faculty with unique, detailed, comments on ways to better prepare their students for the workforce.
Moss accounts that company fascination with Parker Dewey student freelancers is powerful and growing quickly. Moss points out that lots of Parker Dewey student freelancers are first-generation college students or develop in under represented or disadvantaged populations. He's also discovering that students from a really extensive range of universities are seeking out the platform and signing up for the freelance opportunity, what Parker Dewey calls"micro-internships."
For a tech startup, Parker Dewey understands how the data from pupil freelance experiences could be of significant aid for the colleges and universities that they encourage. The stage is collecting information on how well students performed as freelancers, how ready they were, and what skills were shown (or were lost ). Utilizing data from such gigs, the company offers data-based insights back to school faculty and career services so that they are much better able to align and adapt curricula and career support with the skills required by the company. And, needless to say, the platform provides feedback to student freelancers in their functionality and particular regions of strength and need for advancement.
Parker Dewey is climbing up this experience for fresh career development via outsourcing and mixing a sophisticated twist into this electronic gift system. Students win through early outsourcing which raises their livelihood chances. Firms and college career centers gain through comprehensive feedback which helps them enhance as employers and educators. It appears to be a genuine win-win-win for everyone.