Instructor Perspectives on Soft Skills in Higher Education

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There are jobs available today that did not exist 10 years ago. According to employers, there is a significant gap in essential universal skills in recent college graduates necessary for success in any career. Because of student debt and rising college tuition, more than ever, higher education is being held accountable for its contribution to workforce readiness. How does higher education prepare students for jobs that do not yet exist? How can higher education better prepare students for the workforce? Higher education has been a gateway to higher-paying jobs in America and other developed countries. Employers look to higher education to teach students the skills required in the workplace. Some careers in areas such as computer programming, accounting, and engineering require specific skills or hard skills that can be measured by tests and certifications. However, businesses expect students to have developed competencies in areas that are more difficult to measure. These competencies include verbal and written communication, problem-solving skills, critical thinking, and the ability to work well in teams. These soft skills lead toward success in any career, yet according to hiring managers worldwide, these skills are lacking among college graduates. How can higher education continue to provide value to employers if these key competencies have not been learned?

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