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Soft Skills Crucial to Career Success

October 31st, 2016

The presidential election is right around the corner, and for many months we have been hearing politicians voice their opinions about a large number of topics.  One topic being debated is how higher education can help students and employers bridge the skills gap in the workforce.

Some say it is most beneficial to focus on specific workforce training.  However, a new book, Beyond the Skills Gap:  Preparing Students for Life and Work, posits that there are many more aspects to consider.

As the article we’re linking to today details, the authors of this book discuss “soft skills” that many employers say are missing from their young employees.  Such skills include work ethic, communication and teamwork.  They also suggest that employers can play an important part in training young employees to be effective in their work.

For those who doubt the value of the liberal arts in developing effective workplace contributors, this article – indeed, this book – will provide interesting food for thought.

Article below published October 26, 2016

Written by:  Scott Jaschik

Politicians (and plenty of educators) talk about the “skills gap” and suggest ways that higher education can do a better job of preparing students for careers. The authors of a new book very much want students to go on to successful careers. But their research in Wisconsin suggests that both employers and students need more from higher education. Their findings are based on in-depth interviews with employers and observation of classrooms that mix skills training specific to careers with the soft skills that many fear are being ignored in the current environment.

Beyond the Skills Gap: Preparing College Students for Life and Work (Harvard Education Press) is the result of this research. The book is by Matthew T. Hora, assistant professor in adult teaching and learning at the University of Wisconsin at Madison, with Ross J. Benbow, an associate researcher with the Wisconsin Center for Education Research at the University of Wisconsin at Madison, and Amanda K. Oleson, an education scholar focused on workforce pathways. Hora and Benbow responded to questions via email. Their responses have been condensed slightly for space.

Read more at Inside Higher Ed >>

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