Skills Gap

The Alcoa Foundation and U can B

»Posted by on Nov 6, 2016 in Alcoa, Skills Gap, STEM, Success, The Alcoa Foundation | Comments Off on The Alcoa Foundation and U can B

Pittsburgh’s own Alcoa is a proud partner of our U can B program. Alcoa is a longtime supporter of education and diversity in the world marketplace – through the Alcoa Foundation, thousands of nonprofits, schools, and organizations have been able spearhead sustainable, educational, and career-building initiatives. Alcoa’s partnership with Building Bridges expands the U can B program into more schools in the Pittsburgh region, most recently being Freeport Area School District. For over 60 years, Alcoa Foundation has been a champion of supporting nonprofit organizations worldwide. Alcoa Foundation attentively supports sustainability, STEM, innovation, communities, and students on a daily basis. Funding provided by Alcoa Foundation supports leading nonprofit education and environmental organizations, building strong long-term partnerships that produce meaningful and impactful results. Recognizing the ever-growing challenges of tomorrow, Alcoa Foundation directly supports initiatives that produce an innovative and competitive workforce. At the end of the day, all of the funding decisions that Alcoa Foundation makes are driven by two imperatives: environment and education. The Alcoa Foundation has a vibrant history of supporting STEM education programs, helping thousands of students every year. Our global economy and marketplace is constantly evolving. To prepare the communities where Alcoa operates for the world to come, the Alcoa Foundation focuses on projects that increase the number of students enrolled in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) studies. Seeking to promote a more diverse workforce, Alcoa Foundation places emphasis on engaging girls, women, and other underrepresented groups to enter into science and technology fields. Some of Alcoa Foundation’s several STEM initiatives include Junior Achievement, Academy of Model Aeronautics, Society for Science and the Public, and US 2020. US2020 and Alcoa Foundation aim to bolster the STEM movement by working together to create an online mentoring program to reach 20,000 students and professionals. In line with Alcoa Foundation’s spirit of promoting innovation and education is their current support of U can B. By partnering with nonprofits like Building Bridges, Alcoa Foundation continues to contribute to economic success, environmental excellent and social responsibility worldwide. See the positive change that Alcoa Foundation enables by looking at their website....

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Wanted — a Skills Gap Solution

»Posted by on Oct 11, 2016 in Blended Learning, Skills Gap, Trade education, Training for Employees | Comments Off on Wanted — a Skills Gap Solution

Wanted: A Skills Gap Solution Stevie Miller The formula for career success was supposed to be simple: go to college, get a bachelor’s degree, and find a job doing what you love that pays a decent living. As our newest generations of college graduates have discovered, the reality isn’t quite so simple. While more and more college educated employees are available, fewer employers want to hire them. Underemployment, that is, either working part time when you want to work full time, or working at a job that doesn’t utilize your education and training, is a persistent problem that has outlasted our recession-inspired unemployment. PayScale reports in a recent study [1] that 46% of American workers identify as underemployed. The problem is caused by what’s known as the skills gap. Despite a large number of people who would like to find more or better work, industries that require skilled workers–but not necessarily the kind of education you get with a bachelor’s degree–are coming up short. The skills gap is most evident in STEM fields, or industries requiring the use of technology, including healthcare, computer science, and especially manufacturing. It’s difficult to find the right employees for these fields, observes the Harvard Business Review [2], because the technology is changing so quickly that many schools don’t offer the right training. Soft skills, such as communication and teamwork, are in increasing demand by employers, but also aren’t offered in schools, particularly because they require one-on-one efforts with students. Employers, meanwhile, increasingly expect prospective employees to shoulder the burdens of training themselves, the US Department of Labor reports. [3] Yet prospective employees are reluctant to take on this training when the technology is changing so quickly that the skills required by one employer are unlikely to translate to the next job opening. Jeff Selingo, author of New York Times bestseller “There is Life After College”, notes: “The goal of universal college has actually done more harm than good because it banished anything that smacks of job training to second class status.” He further writes: “We need more than just one pathway to good jobs in the U.S. What we need is a place like Harvard–both prestigious and rigorous–that will attract students who have talents and interests to pursue skilled jobs critical for the economy that don’t necessarily require a four-year college degree.” [4] 1: 2: 3: 4:...

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U can B – curriculum

»Posted by on Oct 4, 2016 in Aziksa, Blended Learning, Career Education for High School Students, Distance Learning, Online Content Management, Online Videos, Skills Gap, Youth Entrepreneurs | Comments Off on U can B – curriculum

At the center of Building Bridges for Business’s U can B Program is the mission to provide essential skills and programs to high schoolers, offering coursework and experience that enhances students understanding, their skillsets, and their preparedness for life after high school. An exciting partnership was formed between Aziksa, Inc. and U can B to provide access to Life Learning Courses for high school students in the Pittsburgh region. Aziksa is a cloud-based learning platform that allows students to take courses online, and use curriculum easily and inexpensively – they can take advantage of courses in entrepreneurship, science and technology, green and sustainable science, and a variety of trades. Earlier this year, Aziksa, Inc. established a multi-year contract with U can B to provide a blended learning system that expands students’ access to courses. Available online and on mobile devices, the Aziksa online platform ( is easily accessible. Beyond that, the courses provided through Aziksa are deliberately curated to maximize teacher-student interaction through tools Virtual Classroom and Virtual Lab. “We are committed to offering easy to use classes to young people and this partnership will allow more students to take advantage of the U can B offerings,” said Aziksa President and CEO Santosh Jha. With this blended learning program, students can sign-up online and participate in the courses from their homes or on the go all the while still taking advantage of the benefits of interacting with fellow learners and their instructors. U can B’s reach is amplified by innovative services like Aziksa, now able to provide affordable and accessible educational material to a larger range of Pittsburgh students. “We are very pleased to be working with Aziksa. They really understand how best to deliver online learning in today’s world and I know students will benefit from the increased interaction” comments Linda Handley, U can B. The curriculum offered through U can B connects students with entrepreneurs, businesspeople, and nonprofits like Building Bridges, and engages them with the professional experiences of life after high school and college. U can B promotes student development and exposes young people to essential life learning courses, offering curriculum built to best fit a school’s needs. Courses provided through U can B cover themes such as entrepreneurship, web design and SEO, graphic design and animation, veterinary study and animal related careers, sustainability and environmental issues, green technology, and career preparation and networking education. Beyond engaging students with excellent curriculum, U can B also incorporates their proprietary Coffee With film series, a program that showcases industry leaders, politicians, and entrepreneurs sharing their stories and insights from their careers. Partnered with Aziksa, U can B is now accessible to more students than ever. More information about the U can B program is available at the Building Bridges website. Learn more about Aziksa, Inc....

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