What an honor it was to be invited to participate in a panel discussion at the third year annual STEM Networking Breakfast. Organized by North Shore Community College’s STEM & Education Division, it brought together over 100 students, faculty, alumni and industry experts.
This year’s theme, “Confidence for the Future”, featured an industry panel of executives from John Galt, GreenMason and Fidelity. We discussed a range of issues including the value of networking, best practices for interviewing, and the role of colleges in preparing students for their careers.
One thought-provoking exchange that stood out was this line of questioning. “In a rapidly changing world of work employees must quickly adapt to the demands of the future. What do we identify as some of the key skills needed to succeed in the workforce of the future? Why do we think these skills are more important now than ever before?”
I thought back to a poster that I saw hanging up in University of Rhode Island’s Career Services conference room. It was a National Association of Colleges & Employers (NACE) survey polling employers on the most necessary skills needed from college grads. The top 2 skills cited were Teamwork and Problem-Solving Skills.
Why are they so important? We live in an interconnected age where information moves at lightning speed and we can have metrics at our fingertips. Companies in turn need to respond in real-time. For example, the disruptor of Agile software development spurred on shortened delivery times through streamlined processes. The critical skills to act on today’s quick feedback loop: teamwork and quick-problem solving.
Based on my impression of the North Shore Community College students I met, I can confidently say they have the technical and intangible skills needed in spades.
With only a single-digit percentage of high school grads choosing to study Math, Science of Engineering, John Galt’s passionate mission within our community is to encourage more young people to study and enter a STEM related field. We hope we were able to have a positive impact on these young people, and look forward to witnessing the positive impact they will have on our world.