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Press Release

New Research by ATD: 44 Percent of Organizations Do Not Provide Any Upskilling or Reskilling Opportunities

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New research from ATD, Upskilling and Reskilling: Turning Disruption and Change Into New Capabilities, shows 44 percent of organizations do not provide any upskilling or reskilling opportunities. In other words, these organizations are not operating according to best practices to prepare for the future of work.

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The report, published by ATD and sponsored by DeVryWORKS, defines upskilling as training designed to augment existing skills with new or significantly enhanced knowledge or skills to enable individuals to continue and succeed in the same profession or field of work. Reskilling is training designed to help individuals gain new knowledge or skills to enable them to perform new jobs or enter new professions.

For the 56 percent of organizations that do provide upskilling and reskilling opportunities for their employees, the current trends and practices found in the report are:

  • Only 25 percent of participants had high levels of success in upskilling, reskilling, or both, suggesting programs need to improve.
  • Top anticipated benefits of effective upskilling and reskilling were better talent retention, performance, and engagement levels.
  • The top motivator of upskilling and reskilling is talent risk. Skills gaps, deficits in critical roles and other pipelines, and aging workforces are among the biggest talent risks.
  • Some best practices for upskilling and reskilling associated with better learning and market outcomes are using internal mobility programs, implementing rotational training programs or assignments, and offering tuition assistance.

Notable companies addressing the skills gap whose data were included in this report were McDonald’s and Amazon.
McDonald’s Corporation’s Archways to Opportunity Program, focused on meaningful upskilling and reskilling for its employees, began in April 2015 and has enrolled more than 24,000 U.S. employees.

Amazon’s Career Choice program provides tuition assistance for employees to pursue certificates and degrees in high-demand fields. To best serve its employees, Amazon has dedicated Career Choice classrooms at its large fulfillment centers and brings learning on-site. Participants can attend classes before and after work shifts or on days off, offering flexibility for employees to gain new skills.

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Access the full research report at www.td.org/upskilling.

About ATD


The Association for Talent Development (ATD) is the world’s largest professional membership organization supporting those who develop the knowledge and skills of employees, improve performance, and help to achieve results for the organizations they serve. Originally established in 1943, the association was previously known as the American Society for Training & Development (ASTD).

ATD’s members come from more than 120 countries and work in public and private organizations in every industry sector. ATD supports talent development professionals who gather locally in volunteer-led U.S. chapters and international member networks, and with international strategic partners. For more information, visit www.td.org.

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