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A case for investing in talent

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Posted by: Bernie Dagenais on Thursday, September 8, 2016 at 2:00:00 pm

There is a reason Jamie Merisotis, president and CEO of the Lumina Foundation, provided the opening day keynote at the Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives Annual Conference in Savannah this month. Chamber of commerce executives nationwide are increasingly identifying finding properly educated and trained talent as the top need for their communities.

                Raising the level of educational attainment in our nation to better prepare our workforce for jobs is a key goal the Indianapolis-based foundation, which seeks to have 60 percent of Americans hold a post-secondary degree or high quality certification by 2025. That figure now stands at 45 percent.

                Employers are among the keys to achieving that goal, amid growing evidence suggesting that investments in tuition assistance by companies pays off.  A detailed analysis by Accenture of the Cigna insurance company found that money invested in employee tuition has a 129 percent return on investment over three years. In other words, for every dollar invested, Cigna got that dollar back plus another $1.29. The study examined differences in rates of promotion, transfers and retention between employees who participated in employee tuition reimbursement programs and those who did not.

                The Lumina Foundation is broadening this type of return-on-investment research to other companies.

                While regions across the country are focused on attracting the talent they need, in Greater Philadelphia we have a better chance than many to retain our many college students and train our existing workers to meet our companies’ future needs.           

Our chamber’s professional development through the Society of Professional Women and Leadership Main Line, which is now recruiting its class of 2017, helps motivate and educate existing employees. Our Talent and Education Network, which helps strengthen entry-level employment,  is on track to place 40 interns and new hires this year.

While the chamber and our companies are on the right track, there is more work to be done. I invite the thoughts of our members as we continue to help companies address their workforce needs.

To read the entire August issue of the Main Line Business Monthly please click here

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