/Why higher education must evolve to help fill the jobs gap

Why higher education must evolve to help fill the jobs gap

Summary: Industry and academia are exploring skill acquisition and certificate programs to better prepare the workforce for a new economy

Original author and publication date: Fastco Works – November 18, 2021

Futurizonte Editor’s Note: The three new skills every worker needs are applied knowledge, future proof-skills, and digital skills, according to the article.

From the article:

“I think the future of work relies on three sets of skills,” says Madeline Pumariega, president of Miami Dade College. The first she calls “applied knowledge” that is learned in the class. Second are “future-proof skills” such as teamwork, communication, and critical thinking. Finally, there are the “digital skills” — disciplines such as artificial intelligence, data analytics, and the clean electrification of everything — that are arriving at light speed. Traditional degree programs are hard-pressed to keep pace with these rapidly evolving skill sets. “The future is less about credit accumulation and much more about skill acquisition,” Pumariega says. “Which puts us in a good place to marry career technical education with new pathways to careers.”

Over the past few decades, however, those pathways have narrowed to four-year degrees, which are typically accompanied by astronomical costs and the unspoken assumption that graduates understand how to navigate the job market. This arrangement is especially punishing to low-income, first-generation, and minority students, notes Dr. Adrianna Kezar, director of the Pullias Center for Higher Education at the University of Southern California, where she leads the Promoting At-Promise Student Success (PASS) Project.

“Rather than telling students, ‘Go to the career center if you don’t understand the direction or potential of a major,’ faculty members need to speak directly about what students can do with a specific major, what it will mean for their job potential, and where they can find internships and apprenticeships,” Kezar says.

Creating new pathways means replacing one-off events such as job fairs with start-to-finish programming designed to teach students how to apply their skills.

In practice, this often means inviting the companies themselves to help create such programs, with the implicit, or even explicit, promise of jobs in exchange for shaping the curriculum in some cases. “Are universities keeping up with what the market demands of their students?” Mathew asks. “Do employers expect to win the war for talent on their own? We see educators and employers asking, ‘How can we solve these problems together?’”

For its part, Deloitte’s Future of Work Institute has teamed up with a number of universities to help shape academic curricula and share industry insights about workforce innovations to equip students with the skills and tools they need to thrive in the post-pandemic hybrid world.

READ the full article here