Strengthening our Future Workforce by Embracing Trends, Utilizing Proven Methods

Photo provided by skillsgapp

There’s momentum in #StartupGVL. Founders are thriving, support organizations are growing, and investors are starting to notice. But Greenville has another key advantage: our workforce. In addition to the talent attracted by existing industry, Greenville County has over 50,000 youth graduating from high school over the next seven years. That means a robust workforce well within our reach.

However, there’s a challenge looming. Many future job seekers aren’t aware of the plentiful career opportunities available, let alone how to find the pathways to access them.

Half of the area’s graduating students – primarily from minority backgrounds – may face low-wage job prospects due to this lack of awareness and access. Greenville’s attraction and recruiting efforts must adapt to reach youth earlier and utilize engaging tools and tactics.

That’s one of the reasons my co-founder and I created Skillsgapp, a startup dedicated to connecting youth to life-changing careers through game-changing play.

Creating awareness around career opportunities is crucial. We need to reach youth where they are, on their phones, and embrace a mobile-friendly approach to workforce development. Platforms like Skillionaire Games, provide a more unique approach, offering free-to-play career gaming where youth can explore various careers by trying on jobs, earning prizes, and getting recruited based on their gameplay.

Creating engaging content on TikTok, YouTube and Discord can also raise awareness through “behind-the-scenes” and “day-in-the-life” profiles. Content can highlight industries, clarify job descriptions and set expectations before careers are chosen and degrees are earned. This ultimately reduces turnover and enhances retention. Investing time and showcasing your brand in content ensures your organization is top of mind when the next generation enters the workforce.

In addition to embracing new trends, mentoring remains one of the best ways to impact the future workforce in Greenville. Guiding youth toward life-changing careers involves helping them discover tools that connect them to opportunities. Companies can contribute by instituting apprenticeship programs and internships for high school and college students.

If we embrace strategies like these, Greenville is poised to sustain its startup growth and build a vibrant and future-ready workforce. Game on #StartupGVL.

Tina Zwolinski (center), co-founder of skillgapp, poses with other speakers and organizers at the 2024 SCbio Annual Conference.

About the Author

Tina Zwolinski

Tina Zwolinski is the Co-founder and CEO of skillsgapp // Skillionaire Games, a female-founded startup in Greenville, SC, building sustainable workforce pipelines for local communities across the USA by connecting youth, especially the underserved, to life-changing jobs through engaging, fun, and free-to-play career games.
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