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Hi, I'm Kevin Coupe and this is FaceTime with the Content Guy, coming to you this week from Portland, Oregon - more specifically, from Providence Park, home of the Portland Timbers soccer team.
I'm here because the Portland State University Business School, where I work on an adjunct basis, held a faculty retreat just a little while ago, and I was lucky enough to be asked to moderate a panel of business executives who talked about what they are looking for in the students they are interviewing for jobs. It was a unique mix of industries represented - the clothing business, a technology company, an energy non-profit and, because this is Portland, a beer company.
What I found fascinating is that each of the business people had pretty much the same demands in terms of graduating students - they have to be good at data analysis, and they need to be able to collaborate and work in teams. Those were the hard skills. The soft skill that's most needed - the ability to write.
Now, I feel lucky. This is stuff that I know the PSU faculty is aware of and feels equally strongly about. This is stuff that Professor Tom Gillpatrick and I work on with our students each summer when we team-teach a course together.
Clearly not every student going into the job market has these skills. It's a big country, and there are a lot of schools.
But what I really found interesting about these conclusions is that when I was back home preparing for the panel, I was in the kitchen and had all my papers laid out in front of me. Mrs. Content Guy asked me what I was doing, I told her, and then she asked what the business executives were telling me in the pre-interviews. Data analysis, the ability to collaborate, and better writing skills I told her.
Mrs. Content Guy, who is a third grade teacher, laughed. That's exactly what we're teaching them in third grade, she told me.
So maybe not all the graduating college kids have the skills right now that they need. But hopefully, in about a a dozen years when my wife's students are getting out of college and looking for work, they will. And maybe they'll even remember where they started to get them.
That's what's on my mind this Thursday morning. As always I want to hear what is on your mind.
- KC's View: