A campaign to help employers, employees, learning providers and other community stakeholders understand and meet the challenges of ensuring a skilled and educated workforce.  One community at a time, campaign sponsor, The Graduate! Network leads a national effort to increase college completion among adults, and Bridging The Talent Gap is our employer and employee engagement strategy.




  • Employers are substantially more likely to recognize applied skill mastery for labor pool with 4-year degrees
  • Relatively small number of employers currently partner with higher education institutions but large percent (typically >75%) are interested in creating partnerships
  • Percent of employers who offer tuition assistance is substantially smaller than estimates based on national data collection (50 – 60% BTTG versus typical report of 70 – 80% in national research)
  • The need for increases in professional/industry-based credentials is equal to 4-year degrees as the most anticipated need in coming years
  • Employers seldom say local colleges/learning institutions do not produce qualified job candidates


  • Workers currently completing coursework cite three concerns: finances, work-education scheduling conflicts, education interference with family responsibilities;
  • Interference with work or education responsibilities not as prominent as we anticipated
  • Employees are substantially less likely to know about or acknowledge efforts made by employers to support education and learning
  • Those who do not pursue credentials are highly likely to consider education as useless/unnecessary in furthering their career or compensation
  • Workers say more time to pursue education and more information are the most sought after types of support from employers


In 2017, Kentucky SHRM won the prestigious Pinnacle Award for BTTG

“Bridging the Talent Gap is a valuable survey tool and engagement process for outreaching to our business organizations. The survey itself was an informative process and we saw real value in the three step engagement process. The overall results and individual customized reports provided an opportunity to share the results as a community driver and individual participation. The resulting dashboard continues to be a reference in our outreach for education attainment in our community. We appreciated the opportunity to participate in this process.”
Meg Lindsay
Director of Education & Workforce, Executive Director Spokane STEM, Greater Spokane Incorporated
“Bridging The Talent Gap has proven to be an invaluable resource for Degrees Work. The BTTG survey tool helps us to identify prospective employer partners, as well as understand the education needs of their workforce. As a budding non-profit, Degrees Work relies on the research and statistics provided by Bridging The Talent Gap, that we would otherwise not be privy to. The interactive website gives us information in real time, regarding the business community and growth trends within our service area. Degrees Work fully supports Bridging The Talent Gap and looks forward to continued collaboration in the future.”
Joi McAtee
Program Director - College Coach, Degrees Work, Louisville, Kentucky

Our Publications

You can view more reports and powerpoints on the retail sector page and the dashboard page.

Hadass Sheffer, Dan Ash, Bridgett Strickler and Zach Zimmerman from the TGN Team co-authored a chapter, Bridging The Talent Gap Through Data Insights and Community Action, in the recently released Federal Reserve publication “Investing In America’s Workforce.” You can read the chapter (Volume 1, chapter 3) at InvestInWork.org where we lay out the evidence using BTTG data to support our fundamental assertion that more robust partnerships between Higher Education Institutions, Employers and Employees are mutually beneficial to all.

Chapter Abstract: Communities need objective information to attract investments in workforce development that reinforce employers’ goals, employees’ educational attainment, and regional economic prosperity. The Graduate! Network’s Bridging the Talent Gap initiative is a locally focused, data-driven approach for building the case for employers to partner with their employees and their communities. The authors’ findings from a national survey show a valuable relationship exists between employers who provide learning benefits and employees who take advantage of these programs. Before this survey, much of the evidence to support that notion was not generalizable because of the success stories’ anecdotal nature. Research was consistently lacking data, particularly for midsized and smaller employers, which describe the nature of employer-provided educational benefits, need for those benefits, and affirmation of an employer’s return on investment.