How Educators and Employers Can Align Efforts to Fill Middle-Skills STEM Jobs
Feb 7, 2019
Employers struggle to find workers with science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) knowledge and skills; this struggle is particularly pertinent to the oil and gas companies of Pennsylvania, Ohio, and West Virginia. This research explores the alignment of STEM education (at colleges with partnerships with oil and gas companies) with the needs of regional employers, as well as STEM areas in which students need more support.
Analysis of Workplace Skills in Demand and Education Institutions' Curricular Offerings in the Oil and Gas Sector
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"Middle-skills" jobs require more education and training than that provided by a high school diploma but less education and training than a four-year college degree. Employers struggle to find workers with the needed combination of knowledge and skills to fill middle-skills jobs; this search for workers is particularly pertinent to the tri-state region of Pennsylvania, Ohio, and West Virginia, where the boom from new oil and natural gas technologies related to extraction has propelled the region economically. In this report, researchers surveyed instructional staff at five colleges with training partnerships with oil and gas industry companies in the tri-state region to examine whether these colleges' science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education programs emphasize the skills and knowledge areas that employers need. In addition, researchers examined which knowledge areas and skills might need more support by asking instructional staff about areas in which students had difficulty and if more resources (and if so, which ones) were needed.
Data, Methods, and Analytic Approach
What Do Instructors of Middle-Skills Technical Programs Teach?
What Are Possible Barriers to Success for Students in Middle-Skills Technical Programs?
Summary of Key Findings and Conclusions
Description of ShaleNET and TEAM Consortia
Instructor Survey Items Addressing Knowledge and Skills
The research described in this report was prepared for the National Science Foundation and conducted by RAND Education and Labor.
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