Are You a Victim of the Skills Gap?

Finding the Job Skills Sweet Spot

In Francesca Levy and Christopher Cannon’s job study, The Bloomberg Job Skills Report: What Recruiters Want, asked 1,251 job recruiters at 547 companies about the skills they want that are either rare or they cannot find in employees. Cannon and Levy call these skills the “Sweet Spot Skills” and they are creative problem solving, leadership skills, strategic thinking and communication skills.

How Do We Bridge the Skills gap?

The results of this study forced me to take a look in the mirror and analyze my own skills. I had to really sit down and assess my own skill set and determine if I have the “right stuff.” I fell short in some areas and thus began my own journey to improve in these “rare” areas. Levy and Cannon’s job study was an eye opener and one of the catalysts that aided in the creation of IMar Learning Solutions. The mission and goal of IMar Learning Solutions is to help bridge the skills gap that now exists by offering specific critical thinking training through face-to-face workshops or online learning courses that specifically attempts to bridge the skills gap. I know some of you are reading this and feel like you have a good handle on your job skills and you probably do for now, but the scope of skills required for future success is changing quickly. Even toddlers are being exposed to these critical skills according to Jenn Choi’s article on, The Top 10 Toys that Kindle Kids Creativity.    

How Did We Get Here?

Richard Paul mentioned in his article, The State of Critical Thinking Today, that college professors do not focus on the critical thinking skills that students will need to grow and succeed and will be left behind as the need for these skills will increase. Paul writes, “Studies demonstrate that most college faculty lack a substantive concept of critical thinking. Consequently, they do not (and cannot) use it as a central organizer in the design of instruction. It does not inform their conception of the student’s role as learner. It does not affect how they conceptualize their own role as instructors. They do not link it to the essential thinking that defines the content they teach. They, therefore, usually teach content separate from the thinking students need to engage in if they are to take ownership of that contentRichard Paul, Fall 2004. Paul wrote his article in 2004, but his words are true even today. Think about your own college experience, how much critical thinking experience did you receive? I remember sitting and listening to boring lectures and never doing anything with the information other than spitting back the same information for a test.

Never Stop Learning

Unfortunately for a lot of us, the job shift has already taken place and the only thing that we can do to bridge the skills gap is to become students again and learn to master these skills or get left behind. These days job interviews are conducted virtually on Skype, workers collaborate and complete projects through web-based project tools like Asana, and friends hangout on Google Hangouts. The technological advances in our society and lack of critical thinking training is why you need to seek self-development immediately before you are left behind.

Employers, employees, and career seekers need to make sure that they are up to par on these skills in 2017, because 2020 is almost here and with the changes that will take place during the Fourth Industrial Revolution, the job you have held for 20 years may soon become drastically different or even obsolete. A simple definition of the Fourth Industrial Revolution is that it is the blurring of the real world with the technological world. Alex Gray writes in her article, The 10 skills you need to thrive in the Fourth Industrial Revolution, “Five years from now, over one-third of skills (35%) that are considered important in today’s workforce will have changed” andCreativity will become one of the top three skills workers will need. With the avalanche of new products, new technologies and new ways of working, workers are going to have to become more creative in order to benefit from these changes.”

I suggest that you follow in the footsteps of James Bach, the author of Secrets of a Buccaneer Scholar, and take your education into your own hands and we must begin the education revolution. Don’t hold your breath waiting for someone to ask if you want to further your education and gain the skills that you need to prepare you for your future, go out and get the skills you need.

What Are My Options?

Below you will find a list of resources to help aid you in your quest to prepare yourself to grow and develop the critical thinking skills needed to be successful. I have included IMar’s Critical Thinking Course and other resources to help you begin your journey to critical thinking freedom:

  1. IMar Learning Solutions Critical thinking Academy 

IMar’s Critical Thinking Academy offers 11 online lessons that focus on helping students learn the critical thinking skills that have created the gap in technical skills and critical thinking skills.  By enrolling in this course you will gain access to lectures on IMar’s BIG 6 skills of critical thinking success, take self-assessments so you can analyze your current skill levels, learn strategies and techniques for improvement, and work collaboratively across timelines with other classmates to communicate and share ideas.

2. Foundation for Critical Thinking

The Foundation is a non-profit organization that seeks to promote essential change in education and society through the cultivation of fair-minded critical thinking which embodies intellectual empathy, intellectual humility, intellectual perseverance, intellectual integrity and intellectual responsibility. This is a great resource for all things critical thinking.

3. Global Citizens

This site offers 26 Critical Thinking Tools aligned with Bloom’s Taxonomy and a free critical thinking workbook with games and activities for development. This is a great resource for educators and trainers because they offer advice to help learners apply the skills that they are learning.

D. Wesley-IMar Learning Solutions
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