Roadmap to Close the Gap Between Undergraduate Education and STEM Employment Across Industry Sectors, Further Studied

Open Access
Conference Proceedings
Authors: Yassi MoghaddamMartha RussellJosephine YuenHaluk Demirkan

Abstract: Driven by advances in technology and automation, work and jobs are changing rapidly, and the pace of change has supercharged in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic crisis (McKinsey, 2021). As more and more repeatable tasks are relegated to machines, millions of existing jobs may be displaced by machines, while millions of new ones, especially in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM), may emerge where people together with machines are the engine to innovation leadership (World Economic Forum, 2020). For new STEM jobs to offset the losses, an adaptable workforce with a new and evolving set of skills is crucial now and in the future. Preparing the workforce for the STEM jobs of the future, however, requires massive upskilling, and close collaboration between industry-academia and government service systems to prepare the workforce for new and future STEM jobs.It is in this context that, in 2019, the International Society of Service Innovation Professionals (ISSIP), with support from the National Science Foundation (NSF), embarked on (what turned out to be) a two-phase research project to inform higher education leaders in the US about industry perspectives on how STEM undergraduate educational institutions might best meet industry’s expected demands for new and future skills. The first phase of the research culminated in “A Proposed Roadmap to Close the Gap Between Undergraduate Education and STEM Employment Across Industry Sectors” (Moghaddam, Kwan, Freund, Russell, 2021) where a framework for “Specialized” and “Foundational” skills required by industry for future entry-level STEM jobs was laid out. During the course of this initial phase a few ensuing research questions emerged: 1) How has the industry perspective on skills demand changed as a result of the COVID-19 crisis? (The crisis hit the US toward the tail end of the first phase.) 2) How are industry recruiters and hiring managers screening STEM graduates for both “specialized” and “foundational skills?” 3) From an industry perspective, which colleges/universities' curricula/pedagogies better align with industry demand? 4) Can a set of desirable curriculum/pedagogy attributes be developed from the findings? And, 5) How are industry recruiters using badging and certification to assess job readiness for college graduates? In this paper, the authors present mainly the findings from the second phase of their research.

Keywords: STEM employment, STEM skills, Future of Work, Future of Learning

DOI: 10.54941/ahfe1003109

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