In certain industries, the demand for skilled workers exceeds the available supply, and a persistent skills gap continues to grow.

While there are 5% more job openings than workers overall in the U.S., a report prepared for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation found that employers struggle to fill a total skills gap of 4.4 million openings in certain career areas.

The report identified four occupation families that represent business-critical functions in almost all organizations: Business and Financial Operations, Sales and Related, Office and Administrative Support, and Computer and Mathematics. IT is formed by the combination of Business and Financial Operations (985,214 openings) and Computers and Mathematics (356,527). These occupation families have the second- and third-largest gaps between available workers and job openings on a percentage basis.

The skills gap will not go away on its own. Business leaders must look for innovative solutions to invest in the talent pipeline to fill crucial jobs. Programs that equip workers with in-demand skills are more valuable than ever. Work-and-learn programs, where people receive training, instruction, and hands-on learning experiences connected to job opportunities, are particularly effective in starting to close the skills gap.

Work-and-learn programs come in many different forms. A few examples include:

Apprenticeships: A training program that combines technical instruction with on-the-job learning. Apprentices often simultaneously work for a company while obtaining secondary or postsecondary degrees.

On-the-Job Training (OJT): Training offered by an employer to a new or incoming employee, focusing on knowledge or skills essential to job performance.

Returnship: An internship designed for older professionals who are reentering the workforce after an extended absence, helping them sharpen their skills and learn new technologies.

York Solutions’ Barriers to Entry program (B2E) is an example of a returnship work-and-learn program. It aims to help stay-at-home parents, veterans, and caregivers return to the workforce and begin careers in IT. B2E provides a comprehensive paid training program, led by an executive-level trainer in the IT industry, focusing on IT and technology skills, including project management.

The B2E program is mutually beneficial for companies in need of highly skilled IT workers and individuals trying to overcome obstacles to start new careers. B2E gives companies access to an untapped pool of talent, addressing the skills gap with a long-term solution.

Learn more about the Barriers to Entry program and how it can benefit your company or career.