University of Phoenix and co-author STEMconnector ® today shared key findings from the "Big Data, Open Data: Inspiring Corporate & Civic Innovation" event held this spring in a white paper revealing a need for data-fluent talent, one of the definitive workforce issues of today 1. The paper, Big Data, Big Needs: Meeting Societal Needs for Data Science and Cybersecurity Skills introduces a framework to help businesses, organizations and foundations unlock the power of data. This Smart News Release features multimedia. View the full release here: http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20161117005231/en/ "In order to harness the power of data, leaders should work together to train employees to meet the data and analysis skills demands of today's workforce," said Ruth Veloria, executive dean of the University of Phoenix School of Business. "The growth of data, particularly the amount of detailed information that government, business and other sources collect, means we need to be prepared to meet this challenge with higher education, business leadership and industry collaboration." By 2020, the availability of data is projected to grow from more than five zettabytes to more than 44 zettabytes - meaning organizations must have the will and talent to understand and utilize the data 2. The paper finds that persistent skills gaps hinder the ability for companies to maximize their leverage of this wealth of information, and a shortage of data-fluent talent is one of the definitive workforce issues today. "Education is key to closing the skills gap, and talent management must be aware of the skills demands and development needed throughout the organization 3," said Dennis Bonilla, executive dean of the University of Phoenix College of Information Systems and Technology. "Education doesn't end in the classroom, and employers will need to not only recruit new talent, but take on a larger role in the growth of their current employees - the data-driven workforce will have to continue to learn on the job 4." University of Phoenix has created programs to help make students aware of the current utility of data, teach them how to analyze data, instill the value of data-based decision making and inspire both the innovative and entrepreneurial spirit that are the hallmark of the data space. Meanwhile, companies will need to evolve the management of talent beyond a one-size-fits-all approach, creating opportunities for employees to "upskill" and learn the skills they need to keep pace.