The New York City Council is considering what the New York Times describes as “a raft of legislation” to address sexual harassment and misconduct in the workplace, including a requirement that all businesses with at least 15 employees conduct sexual harassment prevention training:
Much of the legislation, called the Stop Sexual Harassment in New York City Act, is focused on addressing instances of sexual misconduct that may go unreported, particularly within city agencies. Several of the bills create reporting requirements for city contractors or agencies. One bill would create a system for surveying agencies to prompt anonymous disclosure of potential problems to try to prevent harassment.
Private employers would also be required to display a poster with practical examples of sexual harassment, as well as a way to contact city, state or federal authorities with complaints.
If the legislation passes, New York City will become one of only a few jurisdictions where private employers are required to provide this training. California and Connecticut require that organizations with at least 50 employees provide training to supervisors, while Maine requires organizations of at least 15 people to train all employees, plus additional training for supervisors. Some states have sexual harassment training requirements for public sector employees or educators, while others encourage but don’t mandate it for private employers, and still others take the presence of such training into account in judging whether an employer was negligent in a sexual harassment case.
Springtime is always a busy season for home improvement and gardening businesses, so the largest of these businesses in the US are embarking on massive hiring sprees to fill tens of thousands of seasonal positions, some of which will turn into permanent roles. The Home Depot, the largest home improvement retailer in the US, plans to hire 80,000 employees for the coming season, while its main competitor Lowe’s is looking for 53,000 workers.
To assist in this massive recruiting drive in the context of a historically tight labor market, Home Depot is launching a series of new technological tools to help it recruit and onboard tens of thousands of new employees as efficiently as possible. In a press release last week, the company described an app that allows candidates who have submitted applications to self-schedule their in-person interviews at their convenience. The press release adds that 80 percent of candidates have used Candidate Self-Service since Home Depot began piloting the app in November:
Candidate Self-Service is the latest in a series of enhancements The Home Depot has made to its application process. Last spring, the company saw a 50 percent increase in candidates after rolling out its 15-minute application, Mobile Apply and Text-to-Apply capabilities.
The Intel Foundation has made a $1 million grant to the International Rescue Committee to retrain 1,000 refugees in Germany for jobs in the tech sector through a program called Project CORE (Creating Opportunities for Refugee Employment), Ben Paynter reports at Fast Company:
In general, the training program will have several tracks that allow trainees to first gain the sort of basic skills they may need to gain entry-level jobs, (and immediate income) in data entry, programming, and IT work. Then, many will hopefully move on to advance their education through other services that will be offered. …
Trainees won’t necessarily be limited to just Germany-based jobs either. Having strong computer skills means that refugees who have other commitments at home or need flexible hours can join international companies or the gig economy. Even if no one worked remote, though, there are enough jobs for everyone in Germany. IRC and Intel have studied the country’s economy and, unlike resettlement areas in Jordan, there’s a booming tech sector that’s hungry for new employees.
Germany has taken in more than 1.5 million refugees from war-torn countries like Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan since 2015. The lack of stable work for these refugees, many of whom are young men, has contributed to high levels of unemployment within the refugee community as well as a relatively high incidence of violent crime. If it proves successful, Project CORE could go a long way toward improving the quality of life for Germany’s refugees and their families, in addition to helping address the talent shortage in the European tech sector.
While Amazon’s search for a location for its second headquarters and the opening of its 40,000-plant greenhouse/workspace have made headlines recently, another new move by the Seattle-based tech giant is getting less attention but may prove just as consequential, if not more so: namely, the hiring of Candace Thille to serve as its director of learning science and engineering.
“Thille will work ‘with our Global Learning Development Team to scale and innovate workplace learning at Amazon,’” a company spokesperson told Doug Lederman of Inside Higher Ed, who refers to Thille as a “Higher Ed Superstar.”
Hardly a lifelong academic, Thille brings a balanced background from nearly 20 years working for corporate training company Interaction Associates, LLC, reaching the Executive Vice President level before beginning her graduate studies. She founded the Open Learning Initiative at Carnegie Mellon University, working as its director from 2002-2013 and earning a Masters in Information Technology 25 years after completing her Bachelors in Sociology from UC-Berkeley. She earned a doctorate in education from the University of Pennsylvania before starting at Stanford. Her research has focused on non-traditional learning, applications of technology in education, and data-driven approaches to training.
“She has done groundbreaking work on using cognitive science and rich data on how students learn to try to transform the teaching and learning process,” Lederman adds. Her move to Amazon, the purpose of which neither she nor the company is discussing in detail, has set education experts abuzz with speculation as to what she will be doing there:
The saying that every company is now a technology company, in that every organization needs digital talent, has become a cliché among contemporary management gurus. Less often discussed, however, is the need for employees in roles that are not explicitly technical to also develop a level of technological expertise. While engineering, cloud computing, and cybersecurity skills are highly coveted, simply having the ability to work with and understand enterprise technology is almost as valuable, given that technology appears destined to transform nearly every role in the organization—if it hasn’t already.
In LinkedIn’s most recent survey, the most in-demand skills for 2018 are predominantly technical, 57 percent of the leaders surveyed said soft skills like leadership, communication, and strategic thinking were more important than hard skills. LinkedIn’s list of this year’s most promising jobs illustrate that point, as several among the top ten—Engagement Lead, Customer Success Manager, Sales Director, Program and Product Manager, and Enterprise Account Manager—are roles that require those soft skills as well as a familiarity with technology. Likewise, tech-specific roles like data scientist and DevOps engineer were high up on Glassdoor’s list of the best jobs in the US this year, but managerial and business operations roles also made up a large portion of the top 50.
In other words, technical specialists may be some of the hottest talent on the market, but it takes an army to enable that talent to generate business value—whether by interpreting data, bringing technologies to market, keeping a project on course, servicing clients, or finding new ones. All of these employees now require some digital skills, but not the same skills software engineers and data analysts need.
Google CEO Sundar Pichai made a similar argument in an op-ed published at NBC News last week, noting that “the focus on code has left a potentially bigger opportunity largely unexplored.” Pichai points to a recent Brookings Institution report finding that jobs requiring “medium-digital” skills had grown to nearly half of all available jobs in 2016:
The number of apprenticeships begun in the first quarter of the current academic year in the UK fell by 26.5 percent over the same quarter last year Ashleigh Wight reports at Personnel Today, reflecting the disruption that has been ongoing as employers adjust to the controversial apprenticeship levy introduced last April:
The Department for Education (DfE) said that 114,400 people began an apprenticeship in the first quarter of 2017/18, which was down from 115,600 for the same period last year. The DfE suggested that the introduction of the levy would have an effect on apprenticeship take-up as the new approach beds in. A total of 67,200 levy-supported apprenticeships have begun so far, of which 41,600 started in the first part of 2017/18.
Supporters of the levy say these anticipated declines are merely growing pains and that apprenticeships will bounce back as employers become familiar with the law. Critics, however, say the new system is unworkable for many employers:
Seamus Nevin, head of policy research at the Institute of Directors (IoD), said the new system had failed to take off as it was difficult to navigate. He said: “Apprenticeships are a fantastic type of training for someone new to a job – and it is great to see there was an increase in the number of higher level apprenticeships this year – but employers have made it clear that this type of training is not always the most appropriate way of helping to up-skill someone already in work.” …
Apple announced late last week that it was bringing its “Everyone Can Code” program to 70 more colleges and universities throughout Europe, Sarah Perez reported at TechCrunch:
The program, which Apple designed to help students learn how to build apps, launched in May 2017 but was initially limited to the U.S. before expanding to other markets, including Australia, and select institutions in Europe last November. The expansion brings the full-year curriculum to institutions in the U.K., Germany, France, Italy, Spain, the Netherlands, Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Ireland, Luxembourg, Poland and Portugal. …
The course is designed to teach students how to build apps using Swift, Apple’s programming language for writing iOS and OS X apps, launched back in 2014 as the replacement for Objective-C. Since Swift’s arrival, Apple has been heavily pushing various “learn to code” educational initiatives, including an entry-level app for teaching kids to code, called Swift Playgrounds.
Facebook, too, is growing its digital skill-building initiatives in Europe, Reuters reported on Sunday, opening three “community skills hubs” in Spain, Poland and Italy and investing 10 million euros in France through its AI research facility: