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Adtalem CEO: You Can Get the Right Skills for the Job, Even ‘When Life Gets in the Way’

There are a lot of talented workers out there, but they don’t always have the right skills for the job. That reality is restraining growth in many industries even as competition grows fiercer as companies race ahead to compete during one of the longest U.S. economic expansions on record. Educators hope to seize the opportunity by developing graduates that better fit in-demand jobs.

For Adtalem, the 45-year-old for-profit education company, the best strategy starts by asking employers what they need and showing them the diversity of the workforce that’s already out there, says CEO Lisa Wardell.

One industry facing a critical skills shortage is healthcareespecially in urban and rural areas. Wardell says Adtalem owns educational institutions that “produce doctors who want to serve in those communities.” The outcome? “Graduates actually remain in areas that don’t have enough physicians,” she says.

Skilling (or reskilling) the workforce is an important duty for societal progress—especially at a time when a substantial number of people remain idle in the workforce. That’s why students in Adtalem classrooms are often “adult learners with families, working while studying—it’s when life gets in the way,” Wardell says.

Watch the video above for more from Fortune’s interview with Wardell.

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