This article was originally published by Federal News Network and republished with permission.
COVID-19 has upended the lives of every person on the planet in different ways that may take years to fully understand. The biggest change for every single one of us is managing – the how.
How we live, communicate, socialize, work and even how we breathe have all changed – some of them, possibly permanently – by the pandemic.
The changes have created what’s often called a “new normal.”
Impacted by this “new normal” is how employers hire and develop their workforce to adapt. The way working adults are trained is also impacted. This means institutions of higher education must augment offerings to equip students with relevant education and transitional skills.
Dr. Marie Harper, Dean of the Dr. Wallace E. Boston School of Business at American Public University (APU), said during an interview on the Federal News Network program “Leading Forward,” “I saw this new norm as an opportunity to assist businesses with rebalancing themselves, reflecting, rebuilding what they need to do in order to meet the challenges and hopefully opportunities of this new norm.”
Harper said, they examined their course offerings, “kept some of the basics, but added some of what we consider new skills that would assist these businesses. Our approach is to have the degree programs, which are the traditional way of doing education, but also offering short term certificates that may help them with skills that are necessary for businesses to rebuild during this interim economy.”
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From a business perspective, once employees have learned these new skills, Dr. Karen Wolf, the Chief Learning Officer at ManTech, said on the same FNN program, listening to them is important.
“Our employees are very good at solving complex problems, and by the business listening to employees, the whole business benefits from that.”
Wolf cited how ManTech’s digital engineers, working at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, have proven that paying attention to guidance from employees, works.
“ManTech doesn’t build rockets and we don’t build payloads, but what our engineers do, is they associate the payload with the rocket and they handle the launch into space. They used to only be able to do 12 launches a year, but by digitizing the engineering process, we’ve been able to speed that up and do 30 a year and; save the government some money.”
APU’s online education platform is a key advantage for graduates – especially those on the move.
Chanda Chann, whose husband is in the Navy, is an AMU, MBA graduate and entrepreneur. She said on the program, “I think they were more prepared for this than brick and mortar universities because they already had the technology in the background that was already in the works. That’s what helped me.”
The COVID-19 “new normal” translates to Chann’s real estate business, which AMU prepared her for, “because I’m having to be able to connect with clients and prospects online and virtually – basically living in the virtual world even more so now than I ever was before.”