Self-Employment Pathways Pilot Kicking Off
By 2020, more than 40 percent of the workforce will be comprised of freelancers and contractors in what’s become known as the “gig economy.” And, for those with full-time employment, so-called “side hustles” are becoming more and more common as people seek to bolster financial security.
As the job market changes, higher education needs to adapt along with it to ensure that students are prepared to thrive in this environment after graduation. A pilot program through the Small Business Sector will lay the groundwork for that curriculum over the next year.
The “Self-Employment Pathways in the Gig Economy” pilot will be implemented at 20 colleges throughout the state during the Spring 2018 and Fall 2018 semesters. College of the Canyons will serve as the lead pilot college and will be doing a pre-launch with students to identify any gaps/needs related to helping prepare students to be freelancers or independent contractors in the gig economy. The pilot project is funded by $500,000 in Strong Workforce Program funding.
Courses proposed for the program include an introduction to entrepreneurship and an overview of the gig economy. These classes will cover topics such as the pros and cons of the various on-demand platforms, creating and optimizing an online profile within these platforms, and professional strategies for finding and performing jobs.
Partnerships with industry will be explored with companies such as Upwork, one of the largest freelance platforms in the world with more than 12.5 million users, to provide an experiential learning component where students can gain real-world experience finding jobs and taking skills tests to demonstrate their abilities to potential employers.