According to Gallup, 96% of chief academic officers at higher education institutions believe they are preparing students for the workforce, however barely one in 10 (11%) business leaders strongly agree that college graduates have the skills and competencies that their workplaces need. Even if we agree the reality is somewhere in the middle, it’s clear that there's a glaring skills gap that exists among most students coming out of college. At uConnect, we believe that the answer isn't to necessarily overhaul the curriculum - which might be what many of the 96% of academics are protecting when they insist their students are prepared. The curriculum is effective in building soft skills and well-rounded individuals prepared to embark on their personal and professional journeys, which is nothing to scoff at. To solve the problem, and potentially appease both parties, we're suggesting Career Services can, and should, play a much bigger role in helping students build skills in demand by employers and the future of work.
Career Services is uniquely positioned to help fill the skills gap for students for a number of reasons:
They’re continuously interfacing with employers, facilitating recruiting, mentorship, and informational programming. They engage with a wide range of employers, across many industries, and are best positioned to have (and maintain) a strong pulse on what employers are looking for from new grads. Check out how Johns Hopkins University is constantly engaging employers with thoughtful surveys, newsletters, and more to stay up-to-date on the needs of their employer partners.
The specific skills that students choose to focus on should surface as a result of meaningful self-reflection, career exploration, and networking - activities that are usually facilitated by career services. It’s critical that students don’t just look to build skills that appear to be in-demand but seek skills that specifically apply to career pathways that interest and excite them. Meaningful engagement with the advising, programming, and resources offered by career services are designed to surface those insights for students.
As students develop new skills, they build confidence to proactively explore more career paths, and career services can help. Their job is to help students understand how their skills apply to certain industries or roles, present them effectively in their resume or ePortfolio, and connect with internships and jobs where they can apply those skills in the real world.
With that in mind, uConnect is thrilled to announce we can now incorporate LinkedIn Learning content in a way that empowers our career services partners to curate skill-building content to students and alumni directly on their virtual career center. LinkedIn Learning is an online learning platform that enables students and employees to develop in-demand skills to achieve their goals. They empower learners to discover the content they need with real-time skills insights; an expansive library of 17,000+ courses ranging from computer software to business and creative skills taught by industry experts in 7 languages; and an engaging and intuitive learner experience.
uConnect has created the first all-in-one virtual career center platform, designed to help colleges and universities proactively engage students, faculty, staff, and alumni with career resources, connections, and opportunities. uConnect integrates with the most highly regarded career tools and technologies used in higher education and beyond. “We’re thrilled for the opportunity to leverage LinkedIn’s services to bring such high-impact content to students and alumni across our partner schools,” says David Kozhuk, Founder and CEO of uConnect. “We’re also excited to put these courses in the hands of career offices, faculty, and staff, to further enable them in their efforts to support students at every step of their journey.”
The courses from LinkedIn Learning will be curated in uConnect within thematic online digital communities alongside curated internships, jobs, alumni mentors, professionals clubs and organizations, and much more, to help students make connections between both hard and soft skills and their long-term career goals.
For uConnect partners, the courses will be available directly within the admin dashboard, and appear auto-tagged into digital communities, making them easy to publish and update regularly. Clicking on the course content will take students directly to their LinkedIn Learning portal, enabling them to engage with targeted skill development frequently and seamlessly.
“I’m so excited about bringing courses from LinkedIn Learning into our uConnect platform”, says Melanie Murphy, Director of Career Exploration and Campus Engagement at Denison University. “Integrating skill development courses into our students’ career-planning journey will help to prepare them more effectively for the job market upon graduation.” uConnect has seen equal interest in this feature from large state universities, private colleges, and other institutions seeking to help their students and alumni upskill and compete for the best jobs.
If you’d like to learn more about the new feature or activate it for your school, contact firstname.lastname@example.org