Colleges Filling Skills Gap by Including Hands-On Training as Part of Curriculum

Change in Education must start at the University level. The following Institutions of Higher Education are leading the way. The NY Times is covering the story. “The economy and employers have changed,” said Louis Soares, vice president of the American Council on Education. “They want you to come in with a hot skill set, ready to go. Colleges are paying attention at different levels to what that means and trying to develop programs.” 

Some are doing that better than others. “Some institutions are very good,” said Gary Burtless, an economist with the Brookings Institution. “They have their ear to the ground, they’re listening to local employers and paying attention to what they need.”

 

Case Western Reserve University

 

Creating 15- or 18-credit minors may be one of the more effective strategies for preparing students to enter high-demand fields. Because a minor requires fewer credits than a major and few, if any, prerequisites, these allow colleges to be more flexible and responsive to changing industries and emerging technologies.


U.S. Armed Forces, STEM Education and the Skills Gap

The U.S. Armed Forces, including the Army Educational Outreach Program (AEOP), have responded to the gap by leveraging their civilian scientists, engineers and laboratories. The branches host learning sessions and competitions and promote mentorships between students and employees with jobs pertaining to STEM throughout the country.

The AEOP has been supporting STEM education for more than 50 years, according to Louie Lopez, the chief of human capital and STEM outreach at U.S. Army Research, Development Engineering Command. He said the programs leverage the Army’s research laboratories and staff in the hope of instilling STEM literacy in students, and they also hope to introduce students to potential STEM tracks inside and outside of the Army.

FIU Teaches Manufacturing Disciplines to Engineering Students

Among the more than 30,000 students attending renowned Florida International University (FIU) in Miami are some 4,000 young men and women pursuing degrees in various disciplines of engineering.  A required course for the mechanical engineering majors is Manufacturing Processes, located in the University’s Engineering Manufacturing Center, a focal point for Civil, Mechanical, Biomedical, Electrical and Computer Engineering, as well as Engineering Management majors.   It is here that they roll up their sleeves and get into the practical side of advanced manufacturing under the guidance of the Center’s coordinator and instructor Richard Zicarelli.

 

FIU Manufacturing