Book Title: Beyond the Skills Gap: Preparing College Students for Life and Work
Publisher: Harvard Education Press
Author: Matthew T. Hora
How can educators ensure that young people who attain a postsecondary credential are adequately prepared for the future? Matthew T. Hora and his colleagues explain that the answer is not simply that students need more specialized technical training to meet narrowly defined employment opportunities. Beyond the Skills Gap challenges this conception of the “skills gap,” highlighting instead the value of broader twenty-first-century skills in postsecondary education. They advocate for a system in which employers share responsibility along with the education sector to serve the collective needs of the economy, society, and students.
Drawing on interviews with educators in two- and four-year institutions and employers in the manufacturing and biotechnology sectors, the authors demonstrate the critical importance of habits of mind such as problem solving, teamwork, and communication. They go on to show how faculty and program administrators can create active learning experiences that develop students’ skills across a range of domains. The book includes in-depth descriptions of eight educators whose classrooms exemplify the effort to blend technical learning with the cultivation of twenty-first-century habits of mind.
The study, set in Wisconsin, takes place against the backdrop of heated political debates over the role of public higher education. This thoughtful and nuanced account, enriched by keen observations of postsecondary instructional practice, promises to contribute new insights to the rich literature on workforce development and to provide valuable guidance for postsecondary faculty and administrators.