Solving Post-Education Employment Issues: Jane Oates of WorkingNation Shares How Vocational Education Can Help Solve Underemployment

In the current market, employers are having difficulty finding the right workers to fill vacancies. Meanwhile, many workers are still unemployed or underemployed. So, how can education bridge this gap? According to Jane Oates, president of WorkingNation, educational institutions are trying to solve this problem by putting more emphasis on vocational education.

“You know in the olden days, people saw Career and Technical Education as kind of, if you can’t do something better you go, you know, into the vocational areas,” says Jane. “Now, the best and brightest are going into some of these CTE fields, particularly in […] the fields that are I.T. related, but all across the board.”

Major student debt has also impacted people’s choices about continuing their education. Jane says colleges and universities should adapt their policies on credits, so if students have to take breaks for financial reasons, they can continue their education later down the line.

“Higher ed two and four-year institutions have to become more welcoming to students at every age, so that they can step in and out of higher education with, you know, bite-size chunks almost. Because if you’re working full time, you are not going to be able to take nine credits a semester,” says Jane.

Listen in to our interview with Jane Oates to learn more about the changing job market and innovative educational resources that can lead to employment.

This podcast episode is sponsored by Commonwealth Corporation, Massachusetts’ public-private corporation focused on narrowing the skills gap and supporting the state’s businesses, workers, and learners.

To learn more about Commonwealth Corporation’s grant programs and Governor Charlie Baker’s Commission on Digital Innovation and Lifelong Learning, visit

See Jane Oates speak at work+EDU, an action-based event hosted by EdTech Times, happening in Boston June 20, 2018.

Mariel Cariker

Mariel Cariker

Mariel is a Boston-based freelance writer and audio producer who has covered news, technology and innovation for public media groups including WBUR and WGBH. Outside of work, she performs and writes spoken word poetry and voraciously reads true crime novels.