“I was feeling that life was passing me by.”
Bronx native Jeremey Morel found himself depressed and desperate for a change in his dead-end job, feeling like he had no prospects in sight or a chance to truly realize his potential. He had a job, but was not getting paid enough; he knew he wanted a career, but was not sure how to get the training he would need to get one.
He discovered “rapid reskilling” — learning the ins and outs necessary for a new career path, without the time and financial investment of a traditional degree program. Jeremy took classes in IT, and within months he was an IT tech on a presidential campaign. Now, he works for a prestigious PR firm, and looks out at the city from the Chrysler building.
Jeremy’s change to a new life is one that the SkillUp Coalition wants for everyone.
They help millions of workers get new jobs via coaching, training, and directing them to job resources in their areas of interest. SkillUp is a model of “rapid reskilling” — learning the ins and outs necessary for a new career path, without the time and financial investment of a traditional degree program.
And, in an economy with more jobs than skilled laborers, and an age where the average person will likely have more than one career, rapid reskilling may be the future of employment.
With support from the Stand Together Trust, SkillUp started the SkillUp Together fund, which provides grants up to $1,000 for workers to use on tuition — or equally important expenses like groceries and childcare — helping remove barriers to advancement.
In the past 18 months, almost three-quarters of a million workers have turned to SkillUp for help and guidance in rapid reskilling, putting themselves on the path to a new career.
“We know there’s a better way to help people get connected to in-demand jobs, and we think rapid reskilling is one of those good ideas whose time has come,” Josh Jarrett, founder of SkillUp Coalition, says.
SkillUp’s role is to help people acquire the skills they need for jobs they want, serving as a “matchmaker” of sorts between prospective employers and employees, and helping people to find the rapid reskilling resources to pursue those relationships.
“We have jobs. We have talent. We gotta figure out a way to connect them,” Jarrett says.
To do so, SkillUp offers personalized recommendations of local and national in-demand jobs which pay well and have room for advancement. There are over 400 different training programs spanning 30 different career pathways, a wide range of options for a variety of interests and costs starting at free. SkillUp provides weekly career coaching free of charge, and fosters connections in industries that have jobs to fill. The end goal is to help workers achieve their career goals faster by providing guided and personalized career paths through rapid reskilling.”
Jarrett sees a world where more and more workers are going to be seeking those new skills as they change careers through their working life. The number of careers people may have over their lifetime, and the number of times they will need to reskill to perform them, makes 4 years of college at the beginning of a career “certainly not enough.”
A new place
In July 2020, from a small, pristinely white “Zoom shack” in his backyard, Jarrett founded SkillUp Coalition to serve furloughed and laid off workers whose livelihoods had been ravaged by SARS-CoV-2.
Since then, the coalition has grown to include over 75 organizations including tech firms, training and education providers, and employers, and over 825,000 workers have been connected to rapid reskilling support across America.
That includes workers like Jeremy, who went from rudderless at a liquor store to an office in one of the most famous skyscrapers in the world, his salary tripled and, more importantly, skills and potential realized.
“It kind of sounds like a fairy tale,” Jeremy says.