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Despite job openings, gap remains between labor pool and needed skills

Goodwill Industries International conducted a study that found while there is a demand for labor in the U.S., the labor pool’s skills for those jobs may not be on par.
After becoming unemployed at the start of the pandemic, Charade Jackson decided to embark on a new career path in hospitality. However, she had no formal experience nor training in it. That's where Goodwill Industries International stepped in, offering the training she needed. It eventually led her to her current position as sales coordinator at The Darcy Hotel in Washington, D.C.
A study conducted by Goodwill Industries International found that 66% of those surveyed reported needing additional skills or training to get the job they wanted and 57% reported missing out on jobs in the past two years because they lacked the needed skills.
Posted at 11:56 AM, Jun 14, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-14 11:56:57-04

WASHINGTON, D.C. — When you first meet Charade Jackson, she’ll tell you that she’s a people person.

“The best thing about working in hospitality is the people,” said Jackson, sales coordinator at The Darcy Hotel in Washington, D.C.

Her job, though, didn’t come by chance. It began by fate.

“All of a sudden, 2020 comes and disrupts everyone's life,” she said. “One of the things for me was unemployment. I never experienced that in my adult life.”

Initially unsure of how to move forward, she decided to embark on a new career path in hospitality. However, she had no formal experience or training in it.

“I went back to the place where I knew where I was safe, in the midst of chaos,” she said.

That place turned out to be Goodwill Industries International. The nonprofit also runs job training programs, mostly known for its thrift stores.

“Well, over a million people come to Goodwill every year for some type of support,” said Steve Preston, Goodwill Industries International CEO. “Most of that is job support.”

Like many others, he had heard about the so-called “Great Resignation.”

“When I hear the ‘Great Resignation,’ what comes to mind for me is people are beginning to realize that they have options in the job market,” Preston said. “And there has been a lot of demand for labor in a lot of different areas.”

However, when Goodwill conducted a study to take a closer look, they realized that while the demand for labor is there, the labor pool’s skills may not be.

Their study found that 66% of those surveyed reported needing additional skills or training to get the job they wanted and 57% reported missing out on jobs in the past two years because they lacked the needed skills.

“We find that a lot of the people we support may not have the skills even to get through the door,” Preston said.

That is why Goodwill started a training program in various fields to help – such as hospitality - in which Charade Jackson enrolled.

“They taught me things that I did not know,” she said. “How to speak to a client, those types of things.”

It was more than that, though.

Through the training, she earned certifications from national professional associations for things like food preparation and handling and hotel hospitality work.

Those certifications eventually led her to The Darcy and her current job in hotel sales.

“It helped me get a promotion and a raise all at once,” Jackson said. “You can't ask for anything better than that.”

A move that she said would not have been possible without that training.

“If it had not been from this program, I don't know where I would have been,” she said. “Don't give up on yourself.”

It’s something she hopes others will consider, too.