Why it’s time to upskill in 2023

Creator: Anchiy Credit: Getty Images

COVID-19 has had a disproportionate effect on women who work, and those who are looking to work. After the pandemic began in March of 2020, hundreds of thousands of women had left the workforce in many cases due to childcare and family issues relating to COVID-19. In addition, a report by Business.org showed that even when women are working, women in Michigan make 22 percent less than their male counterparts.   

“The pandemic has hit women in the workforce especially hard. Some have had to stay home with children when schools were closed, others were in jobs which simply dried up as businesses had to shut their doors,” said Judy Richmond, JVS employment specialist and women to work coordinator. “As more people are vaccinated, and hopefully more businesses open up, we want women to have all the tools and skills they need to find the right job.”  

Thankfully, employment opportunities for women are back on the rise nearing pre-pandemic levels, according to reports. 

Now it’s all about finding the right job, post the Great Recession and in the era of job ghosting and quiet or rage quitting. It can be a tough challenge due to an oversaturated market, lack of skills or numerous other reasons.  

Whether employed or underemployed, improving one’s skills never hurt in the in-between process of a job search.  

The term “upskilling” might be just what is needed to advance toward whatever that next step may be.  

According to thebalancemoney.com, upskilling is the process of supplementing an existing skill set with additional competencies. In order to have a workforce with greater proficiency, companies can upskill their employees through corporate training programs. Through private training, certification, and ongoing education, employees can improve their skills in any career field.  

According to a CNBC report, out of the 1,431 Black women surveyed, 75 percent say their organization does not take full advantage of their skills.  

Also, typically, Black women in the United States are paid 38 percent less than white men and 21 percent less than white women, according to national reports.  

Prioritizing one’s professional development, especially in a challenging job market, can make all the difference for some. Layoffs, hiring freezes, and high turnover rates can make staying competitive in your field more important than ever. The more you upskill, “the better prepared you’ll be to master emerging technologies and advance your career,” said Tenille Jones, director of outreach at Kenzie Academy from Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU).  

Some perks of upskilling range from building skill sets to learning new technologies.  

Increasing your output and level of engagement at work can “positively impact your mental health,” said Jessica Erb, a career advisor at SNHU, adding that upskilling is a new skill development for a current role and reskilling is learning for a new career or position.

Jasmine Patton, Southfield Area Chamber of Commerce executive director, community leader, and commerce communicator told the Michigan Chronicle previously that women need to be “proactive” in protecting their mental health on a daily basis.   

“I’m a firm believer of tapping into strength from God and pivoting in the process,” Patton said, adding that she knows many Black women even those in her own family, who were hard workers, and that transcends generations. “We come from women who have careers and serve others personally and professionally.”    

Patton said that it’s time to recognize how to serve while cultivating your role as a leader, which is all part of the journey.    

“It is important to honor practicing and pivoting in all seasons, especially when you are a leader,” she said. “It is important to give yourself the grace to change your schedule and move your priorities.”    


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