Reskilling Women for Careers of the Future

Rung for Women and Maryville University announced an innovative partnership that will empower women to climb the economic ladder, meet employer demand and support a thriving economy post-pandemic. Against a national backdrop of women losing jobs at a rate higher then men due to COVID-19, the program comes at a time when working women are particularly vulnerable for job security or advancement into middle-skill positions.

In collaboration with local employers, Rung and Maryville University are developing practice-based training credentials that will prepare students for high-demand, middle-skill careers that offer a family-sustaining wage. Through a labor market analysis on post-secondary credentialing options to meet the demands of the region’s employers, Rung identified talent gaps in the following fields: customer service, technology and health care. With its robust online education and workforce development programs, Maryville University was the best partner to build out this new employer-responsive model.

The initiative will launch with a Customer Service training program, offering a fast, flexible credential that will ensure students are prepared with the skills they need to enter into a career in customer service, banking or human resources. Commerce Bank, Bank of America, Enterprise Holdings and others served in an advisory role to ensure the program meets the requirements of real-world positions.

“Rung is thrilled to have found a like-minded partner in Maryville University that shares our vision of ensuring that everyone has the opportunity to find their individualized pathway to a family-sustaining salary,” said Leslie Gill, President of Rung for Women. “Together, we are matching employer needs with women who can meet the demands of a growing economy.”

Beginning in mid-March, the first 100-member cohort at Rung will have the opportunity take the course which will up-skill and train them to be ready day one on the job, as well as 90 days into the job and one year into the job. The course provides an on-the-job context, with a focus on developing professional skills (sometimes called “soft skills”). While women are learning specific technical aspects of how to engage with customers, they will also gain transferable professional skills, designed to ensure a strong foundation upon which they can build a career past the entry level job, and ascend the rungs of the career and economic ladder.

“This partnership will be a model for the region and nation,” said Mark Lombardi, PhD, president of Maryville University. “It is not only creating essential access and opportunity to hard-working women who simply need further training to secure living-wage positions, it is precisely the kind of training higher education should provide to fill workforce gaps. Maryville has always advocated for meeting students’ needs no matter where they are on the educational continuum.”

Rung will provide additional wrap-around programs to support women who face additional barriers beyond education and training to pursuing a career change or upgrade: from a lack of time to affordability to childcare to supportive professional and personal networks, among others. Rung’s model of co-locating and coordinating educational, professional and economic resources, creates efficiencies, provides holistic support and a one-stop space for career and personal growth to women at no cost.

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About Rung for Women
Rung for Women, headquartered in St. Louis, Mo., empowers women to grow and achieve sustained independence through co-located and coordinated educational, professional, and economic resources. By bringing together several organizations under one roof, Rung addresses the barriers women face while offering a variety of resources to achieve a family-sustaining career, holistic well-being and a joyful life. Over the next five years, Rung will welcome 1,800 women in the St. Louis region into the program, catapulting families into the middle-class and building a more robust regional economy for us all. Media kit available at

About Maryville University
Founded in 1872, Maryville University is a comprehensive and nationally ranked private institution with an enrollment of 10,800 students. Maryville offers more than 90 programs at the undergraduate, master’s and doctoral levels to students from 50 states and 58 countries. Among recent graduates, 97 percent are employed or attending graduate school.

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