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Creating a common language for learners, educators, and employers with AI

A lack of skills holds back tens of millions of people from finding jobs, growing in their careers, and adapting to today’s business opportunities. For example, an estimated 920 million people globally have an education that does not match their job1, while 60% of workers will require new training before 2027 but only some have access to adequate training opportunities2.

Expanding access to continuing education is a great way to level the playing field for everyone and give people a clearer understanding of the skills needed for a given job – and how to build those skills.

Jobspeaker, a Google Cloud EdTech partner, believes that bringing together educators, learners, and employers can significantly reduce the strain on people and businesses caused by the economic cycle and exponentially increasing technology effects on the job market.

“People need different things at different stages in their careers,” says Jarlath O’Carroll, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Jobspeaker. “In the past decade, we’ve seen more people looking to re-skill or upskill in response to the quickly evolving economy. We focus on making re-skilling and upskilling as effective and efficient as possible.”

Jobspeaker chose to use Google Cloud and become a Google EdTech partner in building their exploration, learning, and work platform that improves skills matching for learners – including students, job seekers, and professionals – as well as educators and employers.

Mapping skills through a new common language

Since its inception, Jobspeaker has worked to create a complete suite of tools for career planning that focuses on clarifying what skills are required for desired jobs or careers and provides a path to gain those skills.

“We chose to focus on the language of skills because there was such a gap in understanding by both employers and job seekers,” says Richard Varn, Chief Information Officer and board member at Jobspeaker. “Establishing reliable skills descriptions and communications among learners, educators, and employers will lead to better outcomes for everyone.”

To accomplish its goals, Jobspeaker needed IT solutions that would enable it to extract specific information regarding the skills students acquire throughout their academic journeys, as well as those that employers seek. Google Cloud proved to be the best option because it provides the tools to extract vast amounts of information at scale.

“The task we had for AI was to pull out details about skills, competencies, activities, knowledge, and abilities in business and academia from highly unstructured data,” says Varn. “Given the scale and complexity of the data, we needed highly automated processes powered by a configurable AI infrastructure to support our machine learning.”

Jobspeaker chose to work with Vertex AI for its curriculum-to-skills mapping. After achieving initial success with classification work, Jobspeaker saw opportunities to use new generative AI capabilities in Vertex AI. These tools are now applied to extracting data that identifies and aggregates skills developed in education and maps them to job descriptions.

Jobspeaker is working to map every type of learning exercise, from a 15-minute educational YouTube video to a full four-year degree program, as professionals and students continue to learn from a wider array of sources. So far, Jobspeaker has successfully processed over 6,300 programs and 25,000 courses across higher and continuing education.

Speed has also improved by using Vertex AI. Jobspeaker’s processing took three to four weeks when it used a more manual process and on-prem IT. That was reduced to one to two weeks after moving to Google Cloud and now sits at under two days as it fine tunes more models. Jobspeaker expects to see even more complex skill mapping take as little as two or three hours in the near future.

Jobspeaker expects to see even more complex skill mapping take significantly less time as its processes evolve in the near future.

Screenshot of Jobspeaker user interface image

Aligning with the right cloud provider

Jobspeaker also chose to work with Google Cloud because of its scalable infrastructure and expertise in search technologies. The company hopes to do for education and employment what Google does for so many industries.

“Our ultimate goal is to discover and use any kind of information that connects education to careers, understand the information in detail, and articulate the insights to our users,” says O’Carroll.

There’s a strong alignment between our principles and those of Google Cloud. We want to make valuable information available to learners, employers, educators, and others around the world

Jarlath O’Carroll

Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Jobspeaker

Jobspeaker now has the underlying infrastructure to scale up its skills mapping processes. Compute Engine powers Jobspeaker’s applications and infrastructure, providing an on-demand, efficient foundation for the company’s IT architecture.

In addition, Jobspeaker believes Google Cloud’s commitment to improving education for all is another strong area of alignment.

“While our initial interest in Google Cloud was based on the technology it offers, we’ve learned a lot more about the impressive things Google has done in education,” says O’Carroll. “We hope to create and deploy a Google Chromebook plug-in version of our service to increase its availability to more learners.”

All eyes on AI

Jobspeaker believes its decision to run on Google Cloud puts it in a strong position to experiment with AI as the technology evolves. The company is planning to use Gemini models, which is Google’s most capable and general model design to be multimodal, as it scales out its skills mapping processes to reach a wider variety of learners, educators, and employers.

“We are committed to helping educators, employers and learners navigate constantly changing economic landscapes,” says O’Carroll. “Recessions, technology advances, and the pandemic have all disrupted careers. We believe our platform gives people the chance to course correct their careers at any point. Google Cloud, through promising AI technologies like Gemini, will help us achieve our goals.”

For more information on how Google Cloud is helping EdTech companies succeed, read more EdTech success stories on the Public Sector blog.

International Labor Organization: ILOSTAT, Feb 2023
2. World Economic Forum, Future of Jobs Report, 2023

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