Investing in Workforce EdTech: Staying Ahead of the Curve

As the very nature of work evolves rapidly, so does the nature of workforce training and education. Companies and students are demanding change, colleges are adapting, and investors are making workforce edtech a top priority–but are you considering how you can take advantage of this opportunity? 

Technology is playing a highly disruptive role, both by replacing some jobs (an estimated 800 million by 2030, across the globe and across many sectors, according to theMcKinsey Global Institute via LearnLaunch’s The State of Workforce EdTech report), and then in creating millions of jobs that must be filled by workers with solid STEM skills. And “soft” skills — such as problem-solving, communication, and critical thinking — will always be in demand. 

With an existing workforce in the U.S. alone of 170 million people, and an overall population between ages 16-67 is 260 million, the magnitude and urgency of the need to upskill our workforce requires immediate and robust solutions for companies looking to train and re-train employees. On the ground, this means that colleges and universities want to know what skills employers are looking for, while employers want to understand what students know and can do. The challenge comes in translating academic coursework into the skills and competencies that employers understand and are looking for as they increasingly adopt skills-based hiring practices. In some cases, colleges are moving to credentialing verifications and badges to emphasize the workplace skills gained in school. 

Corporations are also turning to outside solutions and partnerships to bolster their internal HR learning and development departments. Whether by working directly with local community colleges or in looking to edtech providers for internal solutions, companies are signaling an increasing interest in how their workforce is developed. 

This intersection between education and training translates into significant opportunity for edtech companies–and has also led to the blossoming of a specific workforce development investment market. Arc’s Rita Ferrandino recently discussed this market with Jean Hammond, founding partner at LearnLaunch, and a group of angel investors in the Buffalo area. It’s clear there’s a growing interest in the edtech workforce segment across the country–and a growing amount of funding available. So as entrepreneurs consider opportunities and ideas in the coming years, the workforce development market should be a top consideration, as everyone fights to keep ahead of the accelerated pace of obsolescence. If you’d like to discuss further where you may fit in this arena, drop us a line at