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3 Ideas for Closing the Tech Skills Gap

According to a recent survey from the Career Advisory Board, only 11 percent of employers believe higher education is very effective in meeting the skill needs of their organization. More than half (57 percent) said it is common for job applicants to lack technology skills deemed important for success. And 77 percent of respondents said their company's competitive advantage relies on a workforce that can use applied tech skills to solve problems.

These issues and more were discussed in a session this week at SXSWedu in Austin, which brought together an employer, an educator and a tech entrepreneur to explore their perspectives on the growing technology skills gap. The panelists: Moderator Alexandra Levit, chair of the Career Advisory Board; Randi Zuckerberg, founder and CEO of Zuckerberg Media; Robert Paul, president of DeVry University; and Sara Ley, digital learning and technology leader at General Electric.

The panel offered three solutions to help close the tech skills gap:

  • Create dedicated industry advisory boards for educators. These boards "should create consistent touch points, digging into the curriculum and understanding what updates need to be reflected to meet today's business demands."
  • Move toward a vision of "any time, anywhere" education for students. "Educators and employers should converge onsite and online learning opportunities, to both provide convenience and flexibility for today's student, but also model how technology is used in business."
  • Provide students and employees access to the latest technologies. "One of the most effective ways to learn is through experience," reported a news release about the panel. "Students and employees should have access to some of the latest technologies, simply for the purpose of experimentation, ideation and learning. The more you engage, the more comfortable you are with the medium."

"It's vital for students to learn the skills needed to succeed in the always-evolving tech industry," said Zuckerberg, in a prepared statement. "In order to achieve this, educators and employers must come together and start a dialogue on how to make an impact and create curriculums that translate to the technology skills required in today's workforce."

About the Author

Rhea Kelly is editor in chief for Campus Technology, THE Journal, and Spaces4Learning. She can be reached at [email protected].

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