Producing students who are properly prepared for the workforce is not only beneficial to the student, it is also representative of the quality of your program.
When your graduates consistently have the necessary skills to be successful, the reputation of your school is strengthened and employers are likely to recognize your students as being top candidates. But how do you know if your new graduates are really ready to meet employer needs?
First, you need to know what soft skills employers are looking for. According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) Job Outlook 2013, employers are looking for candidates who have outstanding communication skills, are team players, and have the ability to solve problems.
Incorporate assignments and projects that will help your students craft these skills. Assign them positions on a team and have them treat it like a job. They will be able to use these experiences as examples when they begin the interview process. If your students can successfully demonstrate these skills and characteristics in class, you can be confident they will apply the same behaviors in the workplace.
Beyond the Basics
Also, when new graduates enter the workforce, they are expected to have specific competencies, knowledge, and skills. It is your responsibility as an educator to ensure they are receiving proper instruction and guidance, but you will only know if they are truly learning the material (and if your teachers are teaching effectively) by first making your curriculum is on par with employer needs, and then assessing the students as they move through their education. Use the results to determine where any gaps might be, and at graduation to ensure they have all of the necessary KSAs.
By evaluating learning outcomes that are mapped to industry-defined competencies and skills, you can measure student and faculty performance, evaluate teaching effectiveness, prescribe individual learning paths, diagnose issues to improve teacher performance, and determine gaps where timely adjustments can be made. The result is new graduates who are better prepared to take on jobs, teachers who are better instructors, and curricula that are aligned to industry and employer needs.