There has been a lot of talk over the past few years that employers are having difficulty filling positions due to a lack of applicants with the requisite science, technology, engineering or math (STEM) skills – but there may be one more characteristic they need in employees that is also missing. A survey by the Workforce Solutions Group at St. Louis Community College finds that more than 60% of employers say applicants lack “communication and interpersonal skills” — a jump of about 10 percentage points in just two years. A wide margin of managers also say today’s applicants can’t think critically and creatively, solve problems or write well.
According to the article in Business Time, internships make a difference in how prepared a student is to enter the workforce. At Cogswell College we also have a strong focus on providing a project-based education that involves not only learning to work as part of a high-functioning team but also learning to participate in status presentations throughout the project development cycle.
The article concludes that you can’t teach these skills – communication, prioritizing and organizing work, managing projects, how to work in teams and with diverse groups – in a short period of time. We agree, which is why students spend their time at Cogswell acquiring these valuable competences.