In recent years, the focus of colleges and universities has shifted from graduating students to promoting workforce readiness. As Baby Boomers grow old and retire, colleges are saddled with the burden of creating work-ready grads to fill open positions.
The question many people have, though, is whether these institutions are doing enough to make grads workforce-ready. In a world where the demands on schools are always increasing, the answer might be “no.” Luckily, there’s a solution.
The Challenges of Creating Workforce-Ready Graduates
According to CNBC, businesses hired 5 percent more new college graduates in 2016 than they did in 2015. The problem is that few of those graduates were truly workforce-ready.
The challenges of preparing students for the workforce has been a pressing one for years, and it arises from many places.
Today, teachers have a difficult time helping students learn to resolve real-world problems. It’s also challenging to teach the type of creativity and collaboration skills students need to succeed in the modern business climate.
According to Forbes, 44 percent of managers believe that new graduates lack “hard skills” to qualify for professional positions. In fact, 39 percent of hiring managers believe new graduates lack public speaking skills. Thirty-six percent see a lack of data analysis skills.
Resolving the Issue of Workforce Readiness
The problem of creating work-ready students is one that’s close to the hearts of both educators and students.
Luckily, resolving the issue is possible. One effective method is the widespread introduction of high-impact educational practices (HIP). HIP works to help students connect real-world problems with academic lessons.
This creates an environment where students can exercise the problem-solving and collaboration skills they’ll need in a business climate.
Some education experts have also advocated programs like extended research projects, community service and other collaborative programs. Such programs help students connect their learning to daily problems.
Some teachers are also recommending e-learning as a way to solve the work readiness problem. E-learning solutions offer more tailored learning and better-rounded curriculum, including art, STEM courses, communications courses and entrepreneurship seminars. In that manner, they help students prepare for paying positions. These real-life courses help promote self-discipline, science and math insights, and strong communications skills.
While a well-rounded curriculum is highly efficient, it’s more effective when presented in learning packages tailored to individual students. This is part of the reason online course development, e-learning and self-guided learning platforms have become so popular in recent years.
When Students and Teachers Work Together, Everyone Benefits
To solve the workforce-readiness issue, students and educators must work together to push for more comprehensive education and a more learner-focused approach.
Effective institutions must offer courses that teach the collaboration, creativity and problem-solving required in the modern world. They must package them in learner-friendly bundles available on online learning or self-guided platforms. This way, colleges and universities can help prepare new graduates for the workforce and ensure the next wave of new employees is as well-qualified as possible.
This, in turn, boosts the U.S. economy and ensures that colleges and universities are providing students with the courses and practices to succeed in today’s challenging business climate.