How can educators ensure that young people who attain a postsecondary credential are adequately prepared for the future? Matthew T. Hora and his co-authors, Ross Benbow and Amanda Oleson, explain that the answer is not simply that students need more specialized technical training to meet narrowly defined employment opportunities. Beyond the Skills Gap: Preparing College Students for Life and Work (Harvard Education Press, 2016) challenges this conception of the “skills gap,” highlighting instead the value of broader twenty-first-century skills in postsecondary education. They advocate for a system in which employers share responsibility along with the education sector to serve the collective needs of the economy, society, and students.
The study, set in Wisconsin, takes place against the backdrop of heated political debates over the role of public higher education. This thoughtful and nuanced account, enriched by keen observations of postsecondary instructional practice, promises to contribute new insights to the rich literature on workforce development and to provide valuable guidance for postsecondary faculty and administrators.
Matthew T. Hora is an assistant professor of adult and higher education at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and a research scientist at the Wisconsin Center for Education Research. Follow him on Twitter @matt_hora.
Hoover Harris, editor of Degree Or Not Degree?, holds a PhD in English and writes and speaks about trends in higher education. He can be reached by email at email@example.com or on Twitter @degreenot.