Employers, close the gap between the job skills that your organization requires, and the actual skills of your employees – embrace upskilling. 60% of L & D professionals list it as their top priority for 2021. It is more cost-effective to retain and retrain existing talent than recruit new talent. HR professionals in the DI & E space, recognize that it creates the potential for better racial equity. The concentration of people of color in the US in low-paying jobs comes at a price tag of 2.3 trillion annually. Their lack of earning power is limiting them, and hurting the economy. Data-driven upskilling programs that accurately address employer needs are the smartest route to identify skill gaps. President Biden’s job plan addresses workforce development and is seeking funding for marginalized groups like those with criminal records, and low-income veterans. Funding is important, but shifting embedded mindsets is imperative. It is up to HR professionals to re-educate front-line managers to the advantages of upskilling. Many of the vocational programs responsible for providing trained candidates, no longer exist. A recent report by SHRM revealed that more than half of US employers provide upskilling training to facilitate advancement, and 73% provide skills training to improve current job performance. Employers are taking action, but HR professionals need to elevate the conversation and promote the general adoption of upskilling as common practice.