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McKinsey Report Outlines Common Elements of Innovative Programs to Close the Skills Gap

The McKinsey Center for Government surveyed 8,000 individuals – from employers to educational institutions to students – to answer one question: how can we close the skills gap? Their results include an examination of more than 100 innovative programs and suggest many strategies already implemented through Career Technical Education (CTE).

The McKinsey Global Institute estimates that by 2020 there will be a global shortfall of 85 million high- and middle-skilled workers. Nearly 40 percent of employers find that applicants lack the skills needed for entry-level jobs. And while 72 percent of education providers reported that graduates are ready to enter the job market, only 42 percent of employers and 45 percent of youth agreed. On top of this disconnect, the authors indicate that there is no comprehensive data on skills required for employment or on the performance of specific education providers in building those skills.

The report identifies common elements of innovative and effective programs, many of which reflect aspects of CTE as laid out in Reflect, Transform, Lead: A New Vision for Career Technical Education, including:

  • Educators and employers actively partner to design program and curricula together.
  • The “education-to-employment journey” is treated as a non-linear continuum.

What is needed to close this knowledge and skills gap? Again, the authors suggest improvements that align with the work that many state and local CTE stakeholders are already putting into action:

  • Better data to inform students’ choices and manage performance.
  • Clearer expectations for students.
  • Partnerships between multiple education providers and employers within a specific sector.
  • An organization or institution at a high-level that can work to develop solutions, gather data and identify and disseminate best practices.

Access the full report here.

Kara Herbertson, Research and Policy Manager

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