January 14, 2021

Focus on building digital economy workforce skills of collaboration, digital literacy and problem solving

PORTSMOUTH – In today’s workforce, knowing how to read a spreadsheet, how to write an effective email and how to convert data into meaningful information are essential to career advancement. “Digital foundations, human interaction and business-enabling skills,” said Lynn Szymanski, director of workforce development for the Business & Training Center at Great Bay Community College, “those are the skills for the new digital economy of the 21st century.”

21st-century skills refer to collaboration, digital literacy, critical thinking, and problem-solving and are considered foundational to academic and workplace success.

Great Bay offers a full menu of short-term professional development courses, beginning in late January and continuing through spring, designed to build and improve business and workforce skills. “It might be people who are unemployed or people who are working in economically vulnerable jobs and want to move into positions that are more resilient to the wider economic forces that are going on,” Szymanski said. “We are helping people obtain the skills for economic mobility. These are skills you can use in any industry, and the skills most sought-after among employers.”

The courses will be taught remotely by professors with industry and field experience, and Great Bay offers a hassle-free registration process at www.greatbay.edu/business-community/btcspring.

Scholarship money will be available through the federal stimulus package for students taking non-credit courses through the Business & Training Center.

For those looking to make themselves marketable and attractive to employers, the short-term classes are convenient and timely. “This is a great opportunity to recession-proof yourself,” said Nicholas Marcus, who is teaching courses in data visualization. “This is a chance to get relevant skills so you will come out of this or any downturn with a complementary skill set that will help you meet the demand of the job market going forward.”

Great Bay’s Business & Training Center developed the course program after consulting with local industry and business leaders and researching the most in-demand skills among employers nationally.

They came away with 14 skills among employers across industries and positions at all levels, from competence in programs like Microsoft Office and Google Docs to digital building-block skills like data visualization, and human soft skills essential to interacting effectively among co-workers. People who take the courses will learn a variety of computer programs, including how to design and distribute documents and data in a variety of formats, and how to be more present, mindful, and helpful with work.

Great Bay will roll out the courses over the winter and spring beginning in late January. First up is Communication Skills for Supervisors, beginning Jan. 20 and running for two weeks.

The Business & Training Center links people looking to improve their skills and career prospects with industry leaders seeking the most qualified and eager employees. The center specializes in workforce training, and partners with hospitals, municipalities, small businesses, manufacturers, and the nonprofit sector to create timely, effective, and cutting-edge short-term classes that respond directly to the needs of Seacoast employers.