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University of Phoenix leadership joins SHRM conference to share insights from the University of Phoenix Career Institute® and workforce research

By Sharla Hooper

Provost John Woods discusses findings and strategy indicated by Career Optimism Index® and Jobs for the Future social capital market scan collaboration

University of Phoenix is participating this week in the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) Conference, Booth #4664, and John Woods, Ph.D., provost and chief academic officer, will discuss findings and strategy indicated by workforce research conducted through the University of Phoenix Career Institute® Career Optimism Index® study and the partnership announced earlier this year with Jobs for the Future, a national nonprofit driving transformation in the American workforce and education systems, to support Black learners and workers in building professional social capital to advance their careers.

Professional social capital, which refers to the resources that arise from a person’s network of relationships that can help mobilize and advance education and career goals, is a crucial element in establishing racial equity in the workforce.

With funding from University of Phoenix, JFF conducted an in-depth , “Building Professional Social Capital for Black Learners and Workers,” analyzing existing strategies for the development of professional social capital that are being implemented by community-based organizations, postsecondary institutions, non-profits, and employers, strategies that can be ingrained into all education and workplace settings—especially in those settings that strive to break down barriers and accelerate opportunities for Black learners and workers.

“The Career Optimism Index helps us see and better understand the skills and opportunity gaps that challenge American workers,” states Woods. “Now in conjunction with the market scan conducted by JFF, we offer employers the insights and action-oriented strategies which can be adopted within workforce systems to address both skills and opportunities gaps and create the necessary conditions for career trajectories and equitable economic advancement.”

The report identified five key action and engagement-centered strategies that the most innovative social capital development programs must incorporate to build professional social capital for Black learners and workers: elevating current assets, building relationships, making connections and introductions, career onboarding, and continuous learning journey. More details on the findings and strategies are available here.

The interview with Woods takes place at the SHRM Conference, Tuesday, June 14, in Hall D-E at 6:45pm CDT.

About University of Phoenix

University of Phoenix is continually innovating to help working adults enhance their careers in a rapidly changing world. Flexible schedules, relevant courses, interactive learning, and Career Services for Life® help students more effectively pursue career and personal aspirations while balancing their busy lives. For more information, visit