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Skills Development - Part 3 of a 5 Part Series - Linking Education with Workforce Demands

Employers can take a proactive approach to skills development

Technology is transforming the way we learn, work, and interact with each other. According to the World Economic Forum, this change is believed to be the Fourth Industrial Revolution which is characterized by technology disrupting nearly every industry at a pace that has never happened before. With this rate of change, employers need to take a proactive role to ensure that they have a workforce that is prepared with the skills needed to be successful.

What is ironic is the fact that business leaders estimate that only 11% of grads are prepared for the workforce, according to a Gallup-Lumina Foundation report. When technology is increasing the rate of change within the workforce yet business leaders can’t find people with the skills necessary to do the job, we have a gap that causes a problem for both the employer and the employees.

Many people have been trying to get into programs where jobs are in short supply right now including careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Is this preparing our youth for what’s really needed? If schools are only focusing on skilling students to be prepared for today’s shortage, we may be missing out on what’s needed in the future. We may also be overlooking the softer skills that are transferable and apply to nearly any role.

A study conducted by Wonderlic found that 93% of hiring leaders stated that soft skills are an “essential” or “very important” element when making hiring decisions. What’s more, many employers reported that soft skills are more important than tech skills.

The World Economic Forum identified the top 10 skills that are listed as the most in demand for employers now and in the future. They include:

  1. Complex problem solving

  2. Critical thinking

  3. Creativity

  4. People management

  5. Coordinating with others

  6. Emotional intelligence

  7. Judgment and decision making

  8. Service orientation

  9. Negotiation

  10. Cognitive flexibility

So, what do we do about this skills gap problem? We believe that part of the answer is linking education with workforce demands.

The skills needed to build cars and deliver them to customers are highly technical and analytical. But the skills needed to design and deliver the cars of the future may take a whole different set of talents. Creativity and complex problem solving skills become essential. Having emotional intelligence and being able to work collaboratively with others is not always taught in school but is critical for the future success of our youth and our nation. We can’t forget these so-called “soft skills” as we are preparing our youth for a brighter future.

Through our Jobs for Michigan’s Graduates (JMG) program, we teach the soft skills that employers desire. In addition to those mentioned above, we also focus on the basics like showing up on time, communicating well, time management and teamwork. Our specialists are dedicated to empowering Michigan’s youth with the skills and support needed to succeed in education, employment and life.

Employers can prepare for the future workforce by working closely with Youth Solutions. We are continuously building relationships with high schools, colleges, universities and apprenticeships to help develop programs that meet the stills of the future. Working with Youth Solutions, we help employers create immersive experiences for youth. Building this relationship is a win-win. The youth are exposed to career opportunities early so they can make decisions that lead to successful pathways. Businesses working with these young adults develop a source to attract new talent early.

Youth Solutions staff can consult with you about all the ways you can help youth build transferable skills to succeed in today’s and tomorrow’s high demand careers. Contact us today for more information on how we can help YOU!


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