Monday, October 8, 2012

Skill Sets are Important

I had an interesting talk with the daughter of a highly successful engineer and was interested in her response to a question about whether her father was hiring.  In the last four years, his company went from 350 staff to 80 as the bottom fell out of the housing market and large commercial construction got put on hold.

Now the market is beginning to turn around and he is finding that the new hires, recent college graduates, are missing some skills that he feels are important. They have the engineering abilities, where the schools let them down was in personal skills.  They could not put together a single presentation or communicate (play well) with others.  Their ability to work in a group on a project was non-existent.  They had poor, if any, presentation skills.  And did not have the ability to handle a question in a group meeting session.

Why are we focusing so much on technical skills without providing them the ability to bid for jobs, present in a competitive setting, or use available tools to visualize projects.

Students with high GPAs were among the worst, expecting to hit the ground running out of college, only to stumble and fall when the reality of the workplace smacks them between the eyes.

We need more critical thinking and interpersonal skills taught at the college level, this is really showing the difference between the coddled university environment and the real world.