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How skillsgapp seeks to gamify education and career development for Gen Z job seekers

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought to light many long-standing issues and challenges that have also had a ripple effect.

One such effect is the Great Quit, where a large number of people in the labor market quit their jobs.

This reality portends the question: what can be done to keep the US economy and workforce moving in the right direction?

A key part of answering this question is to speak to the next generation of individuals who will make up the American workforce.

Tina Zwolinski and Cynthia Jenkins, two executives with experience in branding and marketing, as well as labor and economic development, set out to find an innovative solution to this.

In doing so, they came to see a very stark reality.

“What we were seeing was a disconnect between what industries needed with jobs and young people not connecting to those careers,” Zwolinski said in an interview with AL DÍA.

From there, the question became how to get rid of this disconnect and increase awareness.

This ultimately led to the launch of Skillsgapp, an innovation platform that serves to engage the younger generation of future workers.

Tina Zwolinski (left) and Cynthia Jenkins (right), co-founders of Skillsgapp. Courtesy photos.

The origins of Skillsgapp

Launched in 2020, Skillsgapp is an innovative company that gamifies career development and school education.

Through mobile games – dubbed Skillsgapp Skillionaire Games – young people can learn valuable soft and intermediate skills that can then help them connect to future job opportunities.

This particular approach is the result of two very notable statistics.

According to the Pew Research Center, 95% of teens/Gen Z have access to a smartphone.

Additionally, Forbes recently discovered that 90% of the generation also rank as gamers.

From this came the belief that the prevalence of these two statistics would serve as the basis for Skillsgapp, using a tiered approach with the aim of opening doors to different career paths and meeting young people where they are found.

“We are a workforce pipeline development initiative company that is focused on preparing children, raising awareness for these jobs, and providing access to pathways to these careers,” said Zwolinski, CEO and Partner. founder of Skillsgapp.

Skillsgapp delivers skills in key sectors – including advanced manufacturing, aerospace, automotive, life sciences, STEM, agriculture and IT – all within the confines of their smartphones.

“These are the opportunities for which there are currently about 3.4 million jobs available, and about 2 million of those will remain vacant,” Zwolinski said of those specific industries.

With decent salaries and excellent benefits, there are plenty of opportunities to pursue many of these career paths.

“But the problem is awareness,” added Zwolinski.

With over 2 billion Gen Zers in the United States, the numbers are here to make an indelible impact in various facets of the workforce.

Skillsgapp is here to provide the awareness and access that is missing.

Skillsgapp helps users develop valuable workforce skills through game scenarios. Courtesy photo.
Skillsgapp helps users develop valuable workforce skills through game scenarios. Courtesy photo.

As the pandemic has made the younger generation even more dependent on their devices and increased overall screen time, Skillsgapp offers a way to use that screen time productively – with games that present the context of scenarios. real.

“Our mission is to connect young people to life-changing careers through game-changing play,” said Jenkins, co-founder and CMO of Skillsgapp.

Even without having a parent, teacher, or guidance counselor physically in front of them, users can use the platform to develop crucial skills to effectively fill the skills gap that is part of the workforce.

A focus on the underfunded

Skillsgapp strategically teaches skills that can add value to jobs and careers that can be learned right out of high school or without a four-year degree.

For many who cannot afford or do not have access to a pathway to higher education, Skillsgapp is an essential resource.

“This is the best opportunity for everyone to have access to these careers without having to go into heavy debt,” Zwolinski said.

Skillsgapp also shows users the full experience behind these industries, working to remove the outdated stigma that can surround certain industries.

“We really find this as an opportunity to provide that awareness, but also to let them navigate without any outside influence on their interests,” she added.

Additionally, for users who want to pursue higher education after developing their skills, Skillsgapp can also provide a way to search for these opportunities.

Jenkins noted that the platform also features a DE&I component.

Users can select an avatar that includes each gender, race, ethnicity, and potential accessory and storyline that may possibly relate to the individual using the platform. It also displays potential salaries for roles within those industries.

“It’s a huge priority for our games,” Jenkins said.

Skillsgapp is also completely free.

“Our model is that we will never charge anything with our games,” added Jenkins.

The free component adds another layer to the goal of increasing access to these jobs.

Skillsgapp is mobile and free.  Courtesy picture.
Skillsgapp is mobile and free. Courtesy picture.

The games include a number of rewards and incentives, such as badges and certifications that help quantify users’ progress and milestones.

Plus, they get mentorship and career awareness that matches their individual skills in games.

Play with a rental goal

Beyond the fun that comes with playing and the value of learning new skills and trades, the long-term benefits go far beyond the users.

The objective is to equip this young generation with the necessary tools to become employable.

This is where the platform’s slogan “Playing With a Hire Purpose” was born.

As young people acquire valuable skills and access new employment opportunities, recruiters in these sectors are also able to recruit qualified potential employees.

A big part of Skillsgapp’s effectiveness is its partnerships with schools and workforce development organizations that can help connect employers and job seekers.

The technological aspect of Skillsgapp allows recruiters and employers to expand their network of potential candidates.

“From an altruistic perspective, we believe we can break cycles and everyone has a path and everyone has a calling,” Jenkins said.

Overall, many different parties can benefit from this unique platform, as industry sectors can gain access to a more skilled workforce; economic development organizations can retrieve data to demonstrate proactive workforce development and competitive advantage; and schools can support career awareness and pathways.

“So, of course, the end game in breaking those cycles is employment and hopefully a successful career,” she added.

In the short term, the Skillsgapp co-founders want to expand into the United States, with the long-term goal of reaching all over the world.  Courtesy picture.
In the short term, the Skillsgapp co-founders want to expand into the United States, with the long-term goal of reaching all over the world. Courtesy picture.

As the company looks to the future, Zwolinski noted that the goal is to “get into the hands of every young person in the United States,” she said.

She added that once this can be achieved, the team will aim for global reach.

Key to both goals, however, is greater awareness and partnerships that can help the platform reach large numbers of individuals from far more regions.

With access to smartphones so widespread and gaming arguably at the height of its popularity, Skillsgapp has the potential to completely reshape education and, in turn, revolutionize the workforce for generations to come. reaching at a younger age.

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