Here’s how to help students hone soft skills

Every college student’s dream is to land the perfect job upon graduating, yet a GPA of 4.0 doesn’t always correlate to good job prospects. In fact, most students who graduate from college don’t even feel prepared to take on the real world because they know it takes a lot more than “book smarts” or hard skills to be successful. A 2017 Strada-Gallup survey found that 34 percent of 32,000 students surveyed don’t believe that they will graduate with the knowledge and skills needed to succeed in the job market.

In my former role as executive director of career development at Ivy Tech Community College in Indiana, I provided leadership and oversight to Ivy Tech’s 19 career-development offices, including raising the profile of career development to internal and external stakeholders.

Assessing job readiness and soft skills

I found a solution to help students tackle workforce readiness when I discovered the Am I Job Ready platform, powered by PSI Services, a global workforce solutions provider that combines science, technology, and expertise to enable opportunities for professional growth, talent enhancement, and retention.…Read More

Ohio State University has figured out how to teach hard and soft skills

More than ever before, colleges are figuring out how to help students enter the workforce with the most up-to-date hard and soft skills possible.

For Ohio State University (OSU), that meant launching the Digital Flagship Initiative last fall to teach technology and coding skills. Understand that this isn’t a device initiative—it’s a student success initiative to blend learning technology throughout the university experience and increase student engagement and learning transformation.

The program takes a three-pronged approach:…Read More

Teaching life skills is the latest trend in higher ed

Recent college graduates need life skills more than they need technical skills to succeed in the workplace, according a national poll from High Point University (HPU). In fact, teaching these life skills is one of the biggest growing issues in higher education.

HPU asked 500 C-Level executives a series of questions about their experiences in hiring recent college graduates. Those executives indicate that life skills such as motivation, emotional intelligence, and the ability to solve problems are more important to their organizations than technical skills such as training on a specific software or subject.

Sixty-five percent of executives say they’d rather colleges equip students with life skills, opposed to 35 percent who say they’d rather colleges instill technical skills. But executives’ preferences don’t match up to what students actually learn–67 percent of executives believe today’s colleges are better at teaching technical skills than life skills. This could be a result of the fact that it is often difficult to assess students’ life skills.…Read More

How can higher ed address the soft skills gap?

The soft skills gap is troubling, and while a study shows that the majority of corporate and academic respondents feel their new recruits and students are prepared with hard skills, more than 40 percent of corporations and almost 50 percent of academic institutions said new hires lack the soft skills to perform at a high level in a professional environment.

What’s more, the lack of collaboration and alignment between academia and business, along with planning and budget limitations, sideline efforts to prepare students for the skills they will need to be successful in the professional world.

Building Tomorrow’s Talent: Collaboration Can Close Emerging Skills Gap,” from Workday and Bloomberg Next, also points to barriers that keep new graduates from being prepared for current and future workplaces. The study highlights how skills needs have changed in the face of new technologies and the evolving nature of work.…Read More

Higher ed must help students improve critical-thinking skills

Critical thinking is one of the top-requested skills employers look for in job applicants, but is higher ed doing enough to help students develop this skill?

Fifty-nine percent of surveyed adults ages 18-31 who attend or attended a college or university say they are very confident in their soft skills, including critical thinking—but that same survey also shows a decrease in that group’s ability to distinguish between false and factual information.

The second annual State of Critical Thinking survey from MindEdge asked respondents to complete a brief quiz requiring them to use digital literacy and critical thinking skills. In 2018, respondents scored lower on every question compared to 2017, and 52 percent of last year’s respondents received a failing grade.…Read More

How to develop soft skills in the digital age

With the rise of automation, organizations worldwide have made soft skills like communication, collaboration, and critical thinking a top priority. To work successfully alongside machines, recent grads and the current workforce must rely on what makes them uniquely human.

According to the ManpowerGroup’s 2016-2017 Talent Shortage Survey, “the most important skill you can nurture is learnability” to stay employable for the long-term. Ironically, the term “learnability” often refers to how easy a software product or interface is to use. However, in the case of employability, it means professionals must become lifelong learners to remain usable themselves.

There is a glaring need for soft skills in the workforce, but a significant gap remains between what skills recent grads think they have and what organizations believe they’re proficient in. Two recent surveys—one that polled students and one that gathered the employer perspective—revealed some startling discrepancies.…Read More

7 alarming problems with students’ critical thinking

Critical thinking is one of the top-requested skills employers look for in job applicants, but are colleges and universities doing enough to help students develop this skill?

Fifty-nine percent of surveyed adults ages 18-31 who attend or attended a college or university say they are very confident in their soft skills, including critical thinking—but that same survey also shows a decrease in that group’s ability to distinguish between false and factual information.

The second annual State of Critical Thinking survey from MindEdge asks respondents to complete a brief quiz requiring them to use digital literacy and critical thinking skills. In 2018, respondents scored lower on every question compared to 2017, and 52 percent of this year’s respondents received a failing grade.…Read More

Training new grads to beat out the bots

As graduation nears for many college students, the job hunt is officially on. And, as if the pressure to land that first gig weren’t high enough, today’s grads are now facing competition from a new quarter: robots. While these bots may not be a physical presence in the office just yet, advanced automation and artificial intelligence (AI) have the potential to take over some—perhaps many—of the jobs that human workers hold today. With automation on the verge of mass adoption across many industries, how can workers make sure they have the skills necessary to keep their jobs, and succeed in them, in the face of automated competition?

The threat is real

According to a recent study commissioned by MindEdge Learning, the threat to existing jobs is real. Nearly half (42 percent) of company managers believe that automation and robotics will lead to a net loss of jobs in their respective industries, while only 18 percent say that automation will help to create jobs.…Read More