CEO of ZWO Launches New Company, Skillsgapp, To Address Skills-Based Talent Shortages, Promote Skills-Based Training Through Interactive Apps, Other Tools for Middle and High Schoolers

Greenville, South Carolina, September 12, 2020 Tina Zwolinski, CEO and founder of ZWO, a South Carolina-based branding and marketing firm, and Cynthia Jenkins, partner and CCO of ZWO, have launched skillsgapp, a company designed to address skills-based talent shortages and advance skills-based training and recruitment for mid-level skills careers. Skillsgapp is the first in the skills-based training sector to offer customized gaming apps focused on helping Generation Z gain the middle skills necessary to participate in the massive skills-based jobs sector that includes manufacturing and other technical industries. The mobile, interactive apps allow middle and high school students in any region, particularly rural areas, to achieve the skills necessary to pursue careers in skills-based industries.

“I believe that skillsgapp will be a game changer in addressing the skills gap that currently plagues our manufacturing and technical industries,” said Jerry Howard, former president and CEO of the Greenville Area Development Corporation and former Employer Relations Manager at Greenville Technical College. "As President of InSite Consulting, I consult with industry, government, and economic development organizations across the country, and I’m reminded constantly how much our talent shortages negatively affect our industries, local economies, and overall recruitment efforts. Skillsgapp offers engaging training through mobile apps for middle and high schoolers, provides rural outreach, and supports school counselors and parents. Skillsgapp delivers the competitive advantage for states and regions to develop a sustainable workforce.”

Along with the gamified app, and virtual and augmented-reality training, skillsgapp offers a suite of products and services for skills training, reskilling, and upskilling. The skillsgapp suite includes in-school toolkits and marketing campaigns that highlight the benefits of pursuing careers in skills-based industries, specifically targeting middle and high schoolers with a focus on rural areas. Skillsgapp tools are ideal for public sector agencies, states, schools, and economic development organizations dedicated to building and supporting a qualified workforce pipeline.


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"For more than 20 years at ZWO we've helped corporations and brands reach Generation Z and other generational markets with messages and products," said Tina Zwolinski, CEO of skillsgapp. "We've also worked with manufacturers, technical schools, and economic development agencies and have recognized a significant need: while our country does not have a people shortage, we do have a skills-based talent shortage. More than 50% of our available jobs require mid-level skills in areas like writing and understanding code, robotics, big data analytics, and other industry-specific credentials that are not taught in most high schools. Unfortunately only 43% of our workforce is trained for those jobs."

"Traditionally, public sector agencies and private industries have tried to address those talent shortages through various websites, events, and marketing campaigns highlighting manufacturing careers. They've often targeted high school seniors or people just out of high school. We created skillsgapp in order to offer an innovative and technologically engaging lineup of products and services that begins to target middle-schoolers, all the way through high school and beyond. Virtual reality, mobile outreach, especially to rural populations, and interactive, game apps can deliver an engaging, skills-based curriculum, from soft-skills to bankable hours toward certifications, that can grow with the student. While we train, we are also able to provide data tracking on skills development for different regions, agencies, and schools so that they can see progress and refine their needs."

"We are also equipped to address the long-standing stigma in skills-based careers," said Cynthia Jenkins, CMO and co-founder of skillsgapp. "Often potential promoters of mid-level skills careers -- middle and high school curricula, career counselors, and parents -- don't consider a career in a skills-based industry like manufacturing a viable pathway. There's still a bias against careers outside of the traditional, four-year degreed professional jobs. Through skillsgapp we can offer the tools to rebrand an entire vocational path with parents, career counselors, middle and high school administrators, teachers, and students regarding manufacturing and skill-centric careers -- and easily work with states, agencies, and other development organizations to encourage skills-based careers in every region."

Tina Zwolinski is the founder and CEO of ZWO, a branding & marketing firm that engages brands and consumers in remarkable ways. The company's expertise in strategic counsel, marketing direction, and brand development for local, state-wide, national, and international clients has allowed it to serve clients in diverse industries, including manufacturing, K-12, higher education and technical schools, economic development, and youth/generational sectors. Cynthia Jenkins, partner and Chief Creative Officer for ZWO, has spent a 25 year career in marketing and creative development for brands, writing and developing award-winning print, social, collateral, digital and broadcast content. Particular areas of experience are in reversing stigmas within Gen Z and Baby Boomer markets, helping industries, sectors, franchises, and individual corporations creatively tap into different talent markets that often go overlooked, and working within the education industry to help others find their unique vocational path.

Find the skillsgapp website at http://www.skillsgapp.com; find skillsgapp on LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/company/skillsgapp.

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To find out more about skillsgapp's gamified skills training through apps and other virtual and augmented training tools, skills-based branding programs, in-school toolkits, rural mobile outreach and much more, visit http://www.skillsgapp.com or contact us at 864.469.9340. To connect with Tina or Cynthia, reach out at https://www.linkedin.com/in/tinazwolinski or https://www.linkedin.com/in/cynthiapjenkins.