As AI grows across all industries, so, too, does the need for AI upskilling to ensure employees remain able to compete in the workforce.

4 key tips on AI upskilling


As AI grows across all industries, so, too, does the need for AI upskilling to ensure employees remain able to compete in the workforce

Key points:

As AI works its way into nearly every facet of higher education, many educators wonder how to weave AI tools into their instruction and how to guide students in AI use. But there’s another consideration: how to equip students and current workers with the AI skills they’ll need to succeed in the workforce.

Building the AI know-how to compete isn’t something only new graduates will need–it’s just as critical to upskill current workers with AI knowledge and experience to enable their professional growth.

Marc Booker, Ph.D., Vice Provost of Strategy at the University of Phoenix, shares key strategies that address AI upskilling to keep employees in the know when it comes to AI skill development.

Here’s what Booker suggests:

Tip 1: Believe that your existing employees can lean into AI and have the skills and abilities to be upskilled instead of going outside of the organization. This is somewhat obvious but often overlooked. Based on a recent study, more than half of workers say knowing how to leverage AI would give them an advantage in their career, and several roles tied to AI (like prompt engineering) do not need long-form credentials like a data-science or programming degree. Taking existing personnel and unlocking their potential through training may be a cleaner and more efficient path that also drives better employee engagement than hiring externally.

Tip 2: Create an environment that encourages exploration of AI solutions in the workplace. There is no better teacher than hands-on practice, and hands-on practice that leads to improvement is a powerful agent for change. To upskill workers with AI, create organizationally-approved initiatives where employees are able to use different AI tools as an opportunity to potentially solve organizational problems. This approach has myriad benefits from learning more about AI models, improving the skills of users, limiting risk from employees using unsupported tools, and improving organizational processes with outcomes of the AI experimentation. 

Tip 3: Come up with an organizational philosophy on AI. Upskilling employees requires a clear path and direction on what is necessary to learn and apply for the improvement of an organization. AI and its uses, models, applications, and designs are vast and varied. An organization that has not taken the time to create a philosophy, determine ethical use, and identify goals will have a hard time directing employees to the right trainings or programs in which to get involved to properly upskill, so focusing on this will create clear pathways of development that benefit both the employee and the organization.

Tip 4: Implement mentorship and community of practice opportunities. Formal training programs are an excellent starting point for those getting into the field of AI, but internal programs or communities can unlock further potential in upskilling staff members and improving their ability to interact and engage with different models or tools. Whether it is more personal, like 1:1 mentoring or larger community of practice groups, providing formal programs for your organization to engage in and discover how to better leverage and apply AI can act as a fertile ground to support employee upskilling on a practical level.

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Laura Ascione

IT Campus Leadership

Your source for IT solutions and innovations to support campus-wide success. Weekly on Wednesday.

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