This Month’s Highlights

eConnection October 2021

This Month’s Highlights

Van Ton-Quinlivan,
CEO Futuro Health

The Reskilling Revolution: Fueling the Post-COVID Recovery

by Van Ton-Quinlivan, CEO of Futuro Health

The numbers are startling: 11 million open jobs and 8.4 million unemployed. And even as the economy shows signs of recovery, the future is far from certain. The Delta variant and low vaccination rates threaten to undo what progress has been made, and while job openings are reaching record highs, a staggering 50% of employers report having jobs they can’t fill. If these numbers tell us anything, it is that there remains a disconnect between what employers require, what employers are offering, and what workers want.

Even before the pandemic, the nature of work was undergoing dramatic changes. Driven by the ever-increasing rate of technological innovation and the growth of the gig economy, millions of freelance, independent, and platform-based workers were eagerly abandoning the traditional work week in favor of the freedom of self-employment. At the same time, the middle-skills job gap was turning into a chasm as employers across the country struggled to find employees with the right skills. In California alone, this gap was projected to reach nearly 1.5 million jobs by 2025 prior to the pandemic.

COVID-19 has made many of these problems more pronounced while also further altering the terrain of work, widening the gap between employment needs and job readiness, expanding remote opportunities, introducing questions of safety and security, and shifting our attention away from work-life balance to work-life integration.

Pre-pandemic, the World Economic Forum called for a global reskilling revolution. That call has only gotten stronger. Recently, Gallup conducted the most comprehensive study to date on upskilling -- The American Upskilling Study: Empowering Workers for the Jobs of Tomorrow. The survey found that upskilling is becoming a sought-after employee benefit and powerful attraction tool for employers amid the current labor shortage.

Upskilling is not a new concept, but it is one that has been consistently overlooked. I learned this firsthand when, after my tenure as executive vice chancellor with the California Community Colleges, I served as executive-in-residence with the Institute for the Future, where I had the opportunity to work with a dozen chief human resource officers (CHROs) in Silicon Valley as they wrestled with workforce and operational dilemmas. One CHRO grappled with having to fire current engineers so that the company could hire cloud engineers as it moved to a cloud-based strategy. He had never considered working with an education partner to develop an upskilling course that could close the gap created by this technology shift. That lack of consideration would have not just cost his company time and resources but also dozens of people their jobs. When faced with a talent puddle (as opposed to a pipeline), upskilling, clearly, is a better solution.

Stories like these form the backbone of my new book, WorkforceRx: Agile and Inclusive Strategies for Employers, Educators and Workers in Unsettled Times, in which I outline the playbooks needed to connect education, competencies, and credentials as more adults turn to upskilling and credentialling at a moment when degree-attainment seems too far-removed from current realities. The book also contains perspectives from some of the leading experts in workforce, education, and government while presenting solutions to workforce challenges from the diverse perspectives of employers, educators, policymakers, workers, and more. If we want to build successful strategies that will ease the workforce crisis, they all need to be involved.

WorkforceRx shows that everyone can take action to form an ecosystem of the willing and approach the future of work with a new and agile mindset. Now an Amazon best-seller!

Thanks to the Virtual Book Launch, WorkforceRx is an Amazon Bestseller!

#1 New Release: HR and Personnel Management
#1 New Release: Business Structural Adjustment
#1 New Release: Education Administration
#1 New Release: Higher Education Administration
#1 Bestseller: Office Automation Business
#1 Bestseller: Industrial Production Engineering
#2 Bestseller: Education Administration
#2 Bestseller: Education Problem Solving
#8 Bestseller: Higher Education Administration

Thank you to the 300 virtual book launch attendees and the panelists: 

Stuart Andreason, Director of the Center for Workforce & Economic Opportunity and Assistant VP,  FEDERAL RESERVE BANK of ATLANTA

Rachael Stephens, Workforce Development & Economic Policy Program Director,  NATIONAL GOVERNORS ASSOCIATION

Laurie McGraw, SVP of Health Solutions, AMERICAN MEDICAL ASSOCIATION

Tom Dawson,  Interim Chief Executive Officer, STRADA EDUCATION NETWORK


Peter Darbee, Retired CEO, Captain, M/V SEQUOIA

Beth Devin, Strategic Advisor, HEARSTLAB


Ophelia Basgal, Chair of the Board of Trustees, SAN FRANCISCO FOUNDATION

Ann Randazzo, retired Executive Director, CENTER for ENERGY WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT

Brenda Curiel,  Managing Director, CENTER FOR CORPORATE INNOVATION

Beth Cobert, Chief Operating Officer, MARKLE FOUNDATION


David Gatewood, Dean, SHASTA COLLEGE

Debra Nankivell, Chief Executive Officer, FRESNO BUSINESS COUNCIL

Rachel Unruh, Chief of External Affairs, NATIONAL SKILLS COALITION

Amy Wallace, former Deputy Director, CA WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT BOARD

Debra Jones, former system leader, CALIFORNIA COMMUNITY COLLEGES

Lynn Shaw, former system leader, CALIFORNIA COMMUNITY COLLEGES

Flannery Hauck Director, SEIU-UHW

Kai Drekmeier, Chief Development Officer, INSIDE TRACK

Fred Freedman, Chief Executive Officer, PIMA MEDICAL INSTITUTE

Katie Nielson, Chief Education Officer, ENGEN

Chauncy Lennon, Vice President, LUMINA FOUNDATION

Earl Buford, Chief Executive Officer, Council on Adult Experiential Learning (CAEL)


Amrit Ahluwalia, Editor, EVOLLLUTION

Jim Caldwell, Chief Executive Officer, WORKFORCE INCUBATOR

Rajinder Gill, CEO and Co-Founder, ESSENTIAL SKILLS PROGRAM


Holly Zanville, Co-Director of Program on Skills, Credentials and Workforce Policy, GEORGE WASHINGTON INSTITUTE of PUBLIC POLICY

John Brauer, Executive Director for Workforce & Economic Development, CALIFORNIA LABOR FEDERATION

Shannon Lucas & Tracey Lovejoy, Co-Chief Executive Officer, CATALYST CONSTELLATION

Paul Granillo, President & Chief Executive Officer, INLAND EMPIRE ECONOMIC PARTNERSHIP


Gustavo Herrera, CEO, ARTS FOR LA

Omid Pourzanjani, Superintendent & President, SAN JOAQUIN DELTA COLLEGE

Anthony Dalton, Vice President & Chief Data Scientist, FUTURO HEALTH

Kathy Booth, Project Director, WESTED

Ann Volk, Senior Director, ALVAREZ & MARSAL

Sara Skvirsky, Research Director, INSTITUTE FOR THE FUTURE

Howard Brodsky, CCA GLOBAL

Dave Regan, President, SEIU-UHW

Lenny Mendonca, former Chief Economic & Business Advisor, STATE OF CALIFORNIA

To catch a replay of the Virtual Book Launch, visit

Book proceeds go to benefit Futuro Health’s nonprofit mission.


Accepting Applications: Advanced Telehealth Coordinator Certificate Program

Following the pandemic, many healthcare organizations and experts have increased the quantity of virtual care they provide. The Advanced Telehealth Coordinator Certificate Program curriculum equips healthcare workers with the knowledge and skills they’ll need to adopt telehealth applications in their healthcare organization and prepare for the future of telehealth. Designed for current healthcare workers, the tuition-free, online program is 15-weeks long. Upon completion, students will earn an Advanced Telehealth Coordinator certificate and 4.5 Continuing Education Units.


WorkforceRx Podcast: Scott Cheney, CEO of Credential Engine

Episode #25, Creating Order in the Credentialing Jungle

It’s estimated there are one million unique credentials in the United States when you count all of the degrees, certificates, licenses, badges, and apprenticeships offered. But how are employers, educators and learners supposed to determine their validity and whether they might actually help someone advance economically? “It’s our job to make sure information about credentials is accessible in a web-based format and comparable so employers and others can make their own determinations about what’s valid for their purposes,” says Scott Cheney, CEO of the nonprofit Credential Engine.

Listen Now

Other Recent WorkforceRx Podcasts

Episode #21 
As more and more people acquire skills and credentials outside of structured degree programs, employers are looking for credible ways to assess what potential employees have learned.

Listen Now

Episode #15 
In her extensive research at the intersection of health disparities and quality improvement, she’s come to understand there are predictable things providers do that influence inequities in care.

Listen Now

Episode #12
Implementation of Electronic Health Records was just starting to take off when she was an internal medicine resident at Johns Hopkins a little over a decade ago.

Listen Now

Episode #8
Workers are showing the strains of social isolation, disrupted work and family routines, and sustained anxiety for personal safety — all induced by the pandemic.

Listen Now


New Workforce Development Book Provides Solutions to Fill 10-Million Open Jobs, Yahoo

North Bay Hospitals Operator Launches $220 Million Nationwide Workforce Investment Program, The North Bay Business Journal

Meeting Learner and Industry Needs with Meaningful Credential Pathways, Modern Campus

The Nation Can’t Just Train Its Way to the ‘Future of Care.’ We Need a Big Rethink. Work Shift

Pathways to opportunity – a Workforce Rx, Inside Track

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