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Working Capital - Mission Blog

<<Mission Blog Home Posted: 03-13-2017

Stock image of a cartoon man in a business suit holding on to the edge of a chasm with a city in the background

I’ve noticed something that seems a bit odd to me when I have occasionally perused the list of “Jobs I may be interested in” on LinkedIn. It seems a majority of employers hiring for entry level marketing positions in the Washington D.C. area request that applicants have at least three years’ experience (I’ve seen that number go as high as seven).

Wait… let me get this straight…

Employers would like an individual applying for an ENTRY level position to have AT LEAST THREE YEARS’ EXPERIENCE?! Did I misunderstand the definition of an entry level position? Because I thought someone obtained an entry level position so they could get those first few years of experience under their belt. Someone please tell me what I’m missing here.

This, in effect, is just one example of what is called skills gap. Skills gap is, as defined by mbaskool.com, the difference in the skills required on the job and the actual skills possessed by the employees or job applicants. This issue has always been present. But as our economy continues to work its way back from the recession and more jobs become available it has gained more prevalence recently. Many employers are looking for applicants that have very specific qualifications and it appears many in the pool of job seekers do not have them.

The cause of this gap can be attributed to many different factors. As the baby boomers reach retirement age, a workforce comprised of 75 million individuals according to Monster.com, they will leave a vacuum of positions that Gen Xers and Millennials may not have the experience, time, or education to fill.

Job seekers are also finding employers desire and expect potential employees to be job ready from the moment they walk in the door; even at the lower level positions. It is generally understood that on-the-job training can be expensive. Not to mention it is always a gamble to hire a new person as a company may invest time and resources in said individual and they still may not work out.

Another factor is the job level that is growing the quickest is the middle skills sector, which are jobs that require more than a high school diploma but less than a college degree (ex: jobs that require trade school training). In recent years the number of people that fall into this category has dropped significantly. Chris Tilly, an economics professor at UCLA, stated in a recent CNN Money article that more people are going to college as they believe it is the only way to make a sustainable living. (This is generally not true. Ask any mechanic, electrician, plumber, HVAC technician, etc.)

This is where Goodwill of Greater Washington’s mission comes in to help combat this very cause. We work on this issue by staying on top of the most in demand middle skills job markets in the Washington D.C. area. We then tailor our free job training and education programs so we can prepare individuals with disabilities and disadvantages to obtain jobs in these fields.

A collage of three pictures: one showing the inside of the Goodwill Excel Center, one with a group of Goodwill graduates on their graduation day, and one with Goodwill graduates at a hospitality job fair

The interior of The Goodwill Excel Center (Left), A group of Goodwill training program grads on their graduation day (Center), Goodwill hospitality training grads attend a job fair (Right)

We currently offer hospitality, unarmed security and protective services, and recently added energy and utilities construction training programs; all of which provide industry recognized certifications once completed. In 2015 there were 185 individuals who graduated from these programs. We also provide career services like assistance with resume writing and interview skills so the individuals who participate in our programs not only have the technical knowledge but also the soft skills needed to find sustainable employment.

Our mission was taken a step further in 2016 as we opened the doors to The Goodwill Excel Center. This tuition-free adult charter high school is the first of its kind in the Washington D.C. area to offer high school diplomas, not GEDs, to its graduates. This unique educational institution has already begun graduating its first round of students.

So, in a way, you could say we are working to fill in the skills gap so the residents of the D.C. metro area do not fall into this growing chasm.

Interested in learning more about Goodwill’s job training and education programs?View Our Job Training Programs.


Working Capital, Goodwill mission blog author
This article was written by: David Meloy
Marketing and Community Relations Manager


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Goodwill of Greater Washington stores and donation centers transform lives and communities by supporting our free career and employment services for people with disabilities and disadvantages.

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