Monday, January 30, 2017

The Skills Gap: Redefining the Problem, Reframing the Narrative, and Reinventing Partnerships - Jeffrey S. Russell, Evolllution

In interviews with 145 educators and employers throughout Wisconsin, the authors heard about the need for workers who possess a strong work ethic, good problem-solving skills, the ability to communicate, and the desire to work effectively as part of a team. A person’s resumé might show the right educational credentials but may not reflect these so-called soft skills, which the authors rebrand as “habits of mind.” These habits may be hard to document, yet employers need people who come to work with narrowly defined technical expertise and these broader, non-technical, real-world competencies. This is not the first time we’ve heard this assertion, especially as it relates to the value of a rich, broad liberal arts education. In this instance, the authors go the extra mile to describe the “skills infrastructure” necessary for students to acquire these habits of mind. As an engineer, I value this kind of systems approach. If we are going to construct educational experiences for college students that produce a more diverse skill set, we must pay careful attention to the underpinnings, which the authors identify as “leverage points.

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