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Bridging the STEM Skills Gap Involves Both Education and Industry Commitments

The U.S. News and World Report – Rebecca Ellis

“Inside Subaru of Indiana Automotive, students gather around a scaled-down version of the robotic arms the industry uses to make cars. They watch as it sorts colored blocks on a miniaturized production line, occasionally glancing at the nearby laptop to make sure it is following the commands they programmed. These students are simulating the roles of modern manufacturing employees.” (more)

California must continue to lead in closing the bilingual skills gap

Ed Source – David Bong

“High school seniors in nearly three dozen states walked across the graduation stage last month to receive a diploma with a unique distinction that signifies they are even better positioned for success: a Seal of Biliteracy. That’s because in today’s global economy and multicultural society, the skill of being bilingual is becoming increasingly valuable in the eyes of colleges and employers. In fact, a recent study from the New American Economy showed that demand for bilingual workers more than doubled between 2010 and 2015.” (more)

Changing our Paradigm

News Herald – Juliann Talkington

Juliann

Technology is changing so fast, it is impossible to know what the world will be like in a year, much less four or five. Just 25 years ago, the Internet was still in its infancy, mobile phones were just gaining popularity, and genetically modified foods were not yet on the market. Now we are worried about biological computers, electronic currencies, and the health impacts of genetically modified foods.

For decades, education experts encouraged schools to track kids into narrow areas like molecular biology, medieval history, copyright law, or Fortran programming. As technology advanced, the lines between disciplines began to disappear and some areas vanished.

Now a person’s long-term employment prospects are based on his/her ability to quickly learn new things, interact with others, and change. This means everyone needs a strong understanding of all the disciplines including the arts, math, history, science, languages, etc. In addition, employers need people who can communicate, listen, and empathize with others; have a strong work ethic; and possess good character. This means our kids need a completely different type of education than we did when we were growing up.

Here is a list of the skill gaps that exist in our education system and parenting approaches.


1. Ability to think critically and assess and analyze information
The problem often develops in elementary school. Primary school teachers need strong proficiency in this area.
2. Collaborative/Influential
Students need practice working with others. Schools are not structured to provide exposure to different ages.
3. Agile/Adaptable
Schools/parents want stability. Students need exposure to change.
4. Initiative
Students need opportunities to start new programs, etc.
5. Effective Written and Oral Communication
Schools need step by step teaching approaches and effective ways to assess proficiency.
6. Curious, Imaginative, Creative
Schools should foster these abilities with short creative blocks during the teaching day.
7. Ethical
Parents need to demonstrate acceptable behavior.
8. Polished and Courteous
Parents need to teach their children basic life skills – allow others to finish speaking before you begin, chew with your mouth closed, etc.
9. Well-read
Parents should discuss world affairs and technological advances with their kids.
10. Strong work ethic
Parents need to teach their children about self-discipline, punctuality, follow-through, etc. and then allow them to experience consequences when they do not deliver.

Once we realize what worked in the 1900s no longer makes sense today, we can work together to make sure our kids are ready for life on their own.

STEM education: plugging the global skills shortage

Relocate Magazine – Staff Writer

A consequence of this is a burgeoning global careers market for highly-skilled STEM graduates and school leavers.Today, international businesses demand ever more talent to help them compete in global marketplaces. These businesses also have higher than ever expectations of their young recruits too. This view is endorsed by ‘Inspiring Growth’, the CBI/Pearson Education Skills Survey, which cites that a degree in a science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) subject can give graduates a clear advantage in the jobs market.”(more)

Schools and industry should join forces to reduce skills gap – Marc Durando

Horizon Magazine – Marc Durando

“Schools and industry should join forces to increase the level of skills in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) and better prepare pupils for careers in the sector, according to Marc Durando, Executive Director of European Schoolnet, a network of 31 European ministries of education. All industrial sectors need qualified professionals in STEM to boost the pace of innovation, employment and productivity, and consequently Europe’s ability to compete globally.”(more)

Pulling together to bridge the skills gap

The Telegraph – Sean Hargrave

“Anyone in business who has tried to hire a skilled worker will understand that when it comes to qualified, experienced staff, the demand often outpaces supply. The barrier to business growth this represents is acknowledged by the government, which surveys companies every two years to quantify the challenged posed by the skills gap. According to the latest figures for 2013, from the UK Commission for Employment and Skills (UKCES), one in five vacancies are difficult to fill because of a shortage of skills…Typically the roles are in science, technology and engineering – the subject areas that industry folk believe schools can do more to encourage children to study, as they are most in demand by employers.”(more)