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Why the Skills Gap Matters

Why the Skills Gap Matters
 

There is a good deal of talk about the ‘skills gap’ and how the educational system must address this reality through curriculum design and teaching practices. The skills gap that educators and industry professionals are concerned with involves people entering the workforce not having the requisite skills needed by employers. However, it goes beyond a simple definition and has impacts on individual learners and future employees.

The skills that are needed may include technical skills, communication skills, design skills, interpersonal skills – the range of talents that people bring to their jobs. Each of these skill sets, and many other areas of specialization, make the economy turn, and so, preparing students in these areas is important. Typically, these have been skills gained along the way, on the job, or in specialized academic programs. As these are sought after areas of learning, however, more educational programs will evolve for learners of all ages.

In the traditional curriculum, Design has not been a core subject of learning (such as English or Science), however students have long had the Arts to fill the role. Likewise, Technology has not been a core academic subject, but with the shift towards a technical economy, the reality is likely that it will become its own stand-alone subject. Language Arts is now taught with a focus on broad-based communication skills and Character Education programs help instill the crucial interpersonal skills.

For people beyond the public education system, the skills gap is a very real issue. People beyond public education must be more proactive in acquiring the skills necessary for career advancement or transitions. There are many Adult and Continuing Education Programs designed to address these needs, and so individuals must determine what types of skills they would be well-suited to acquire. Skills acquired in these programs tend towards the technical, language and communication base, design-oriented, and other areas in which people want to make something.

For, each individual will need to fill in their own skills gap. If a person has a strong knowledge base but few practical abilities, they may want to consider what types of practical abilities they should gain. Reflecting upon what they are already good at, interested in and like to do, and then determining which skills actually complement those natural pursuits, will provide an answer to the types of skills that are well-suited for an individual to acquire.

 

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