What is being done to close a Skills Gap?
The Wall Street Journal article today (Saturday, January 17th) starts by saying four in ten U.S. college students graduate without skills in "complex reasoning, communication and problem solving." There is some progress for sure, but the author points out there are big gaps to address. The conversation about this is not new and it is easy to overlook those that are tackling this head on.
I have just joined the Advisory Board of the California State University Fullerton (CSUF) Center for Leadership. I am impressed with the creative approach that Dr. Jay Barbuto and his team of impressive "leadership scholars - the students" are taking to enrich Business student educational experiences and build these critical skills. There are 22 of us on this growing Advisory Board and we come from consulting as well as premier and respected Orange County corporations. We discussed ways to support the students and offer development in corporate settings too.
Training and leadership development is a big investment for many of the Board member companies for they see the shift from hiring on the outside to developing on the inside. Communication, influence and problem solving skills areas remain a priority. Partnering with the Universities accelerates this development initiative and you see first hand the skills of undergraduate and senior business students. I was impressed for sure with the CSUF students attending our meeting. At lunch I was able to talk more in depth with a few students and here is what I experienced;
- commitment to their program
- enthusiasm for learning and eagerly seeking exposure to companies, interning and shadowing
- polish and great communication skills
- smiles and positive presence which was refreshing
So, according to this WSJ article, many business owners might not be seeing these attributes in recent college graduate interviews but maybe they have not met the students from the Mihaylo College of Business and Economics at CSUF.
We are all eager to see an increase in the availability of top talent from the Universities and from the experienced labor pool. Our clients are starting to consider selecting on potential vs. performance and we have a long way to go, however, this leadership center and their work with students in Orange County moves us much closer to that goal. Thank you Jay!