A prescient report (http://nnw.fm/T19dA) from the Paris-based Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) lays bare the dearth of “basic” and vocational skills in the U.S. Despite a relatively high level of education, the U.S. experiences a weakness in basic skills when compared to other developed countries, according to the report. As a result, the authors of the study recommend making skills training for young adults more accessible, while linking this training to career development. This is exactly what vocational training company ProBility Media Corp. (OTC: PBYA) is doing. With its suite of training and test preparation solutions, the Texas-based educational technology company is out to develop the first full service training and career advancement brand for technical vocations and skilled trades.
ProBility is aiming to disrupt the technical vocations training and certification industry by creating the first full service training and career advancement brand in the technical fields. A major plank in this strategy is the development of online training programs employing virtual reality technology. In the HVAC field, for example, ProBility’s eLearning products under development include a full HVAC technician’s course that simulates the hands-on experience of a lab and physical school. This practical training is supplemented with a handbook produced by ProBility’s publishing division.
Details of the OECD report show the market opportunity America’s skills gap presents for ProBility. As expected, the ability to cultivate the aptitude needed to work at a trade is impeded if basic skills are lacking. Some math proficiency, for example, is required in most vocations, leading, generally, to a greater awareness and emphasis on developing numerate skills. However, literacy is just as important. Language is an important medium not just for learning but also for reasoning. Most of the time, our conscious cogitation is in verbal terms as we “talk” ourselves through a series of actions or a problem solving sequence. Having a command of grammar and syntax also aids in interpreting and assessing information. This may be why the U.S. also scored low on a related skill: problem solving in technology-rich environments.
More so than in other OECD countries, “socio-economic economic background has a stronger influence on adult basic skills.” However, basic skills are linked not only to employment outcomes, but also to personal and social well-being, the report goes on to point out. The odds of having low levels of health are four times higher for low-skilled U.S. adults than for those with the highest skills, a ratio that is twice the OECD cross-country average.
Other findings of the study point to opportunities for ProBility to deploy its extensive array of online training programs. Most (63%) low-skilled adults in the U.S. are employed, a higher proportion than in other countries. Consequently, they can be targeted through workforce development and evening adult programs. In addition, “participation rates in adult education and training are higher in the U.S. than in most countries at all skill levels, although, as elsewhere, low-skilled adults are less likely to participate.”
On par with these findings, ProBility is continually expanding the range of its training and testing services, through organic growth and by acquisitions, as it executes its strategy of defragmenting the vocational training industry. The company is positioning itself as a one-stop-shop for individuals, small- and medium-size businesses (SMEs), and large enterprise customers in the market for high-quality training services and materials to promote career advancement. ProBility is now, also, one of the largest wholesale supplier of electrical codes in the U.S. and provides exam preparation and certification in 22 states.
For more information, visit www.probilitymedia.com.
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