New knowledge, especially in STEM fields, is being created at an increasing rate. An extraordinary confluence of forces stemming from automation and digital technologies is transforming both the world of work and the ways we educate current and future employees to contribute productively to the workplace.
To raise awareness of the shifting role of higher education as a response to the changing STEM workforce needs, Yakut Gazi, associate dean of Learning Systems, and Nelson Baker, dean of Professional Education, authored a chapter in the newly released book, The Great Skills Gap: Optimizing Talent for the Future of Work, edited by Jason Wingard and Christine Farrugia.
In their chapter, "Higher Education's Changing Faces," Gazi and Baker explore efforts to deliver relevant, valuable, and affordable education for the future of work by providing current examples from higher education STEM institutions.
"How can higher education best serve the needs of the future workforce?" questions Gazi and Baker. "One important asset at many colleges and universities – their professional, continuing, and online education (PCO) units – has considerable experience educating nontraditional learners and delivering lifelong learning."
While the chapter was written in the middle of 2019, prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, where many turned to their PCO units to help pivot to emergency remote learning, there is still opportunity for higher education institutions to continue adapting and providing value in the changing workforce – now and in the future. Gazi and Baker close their chapter by suggesting such activities could include the creation of new industry credentials, development of lifetime career coaching programs, and exploration of technology to scale educational solutions to maintain affordability and impact.
The The Great Skills Gap is currently available for purchase from the Stanford University Press.