“Our model is
see, do, teach."
JOHN KINNEY, head of claims, The Hartford
hardwire problem solving into the curriculum yet,”
Duke Energy currently uses design thinking
in nearly every department to solve problems,
and Sherrill says he would like to see this mindset
become part of the curriculum at community colleges, so students are at least introduced to this way
“That’s not something we have done yet,” he
says. “Right now, we are trying to focus on the core
elements of the curriculum that will allow students
to be successful. But I see that as the next iteration.”
Micro-credentialing could help employers
identify candidates who have the soft skills they’re
looking for. If community colleges were to develop
a way to teach and assess soft skills such as critical
thinking and communication, they could award
badges or other micro-credentials to students for
demonstrating these skills—which is something
that employers say they would appreciate.
In the meantime, experiential learning opportunities (such as apprenticeships) are enabling employers to assess students’ soft skills while they’re on the
job—while also helping students learn those skills in
the context of work.
“We’re finding that it suits multiple purposes to
have students come into our environment, work,
and get some real experience,” Lipnevicius says. “It
gives both parties an opportunity to interview each
other and determine whether it’s a good fit.”
The Hartford operates an insurance claims
apprenticeship program with Capital Community
The Hartford coaches and mentors its appren-
tices on the soft skills they will need for success. For
instance, the company records all phone calls and
plays actual calls for students before they take the
floor, so they can hear examples of what went well
and what didn’t. Team leaders also wear headsets that
allow them to hear what is happening on each call,
and as soon as a call is finished, they discuss the positives and negatives from that call with trainees.
“Our model is see, do, teach,” Kinney says. “The key
is to provide rich feedback, and it shouldn’t be underestimated that this has to happen continuously.”
An analysis of U.S. employment data by
the Pew Research Center shows that
job growth is more rapid in occupations
requiring higher social or analytical skills.
Since 1980, employment in jobs
requiring stronger social skills—namely
interpersonal, communications, or management skills—increased from 49 million
to 90 million, or 83 percent. What’s more,
employment increased 77 percent (from
49 million to 86 million) in jobs requiring
higher levels of analytical skills, including
critical thinking and computer use.
By comparison, the number of workers
in jobs requiring higher levels of manual
or physical skills—such as machinery
operation and physical labor—grew only
18 percent in that time.
change in employment, 1980-2015
Source: “The State of American Jobs,” Pew Research Center (2016)
0% 25% 50% 75% 100%
OCCUPATIONS REQUIRING HIGHER LEVELS OF....