Skill Matchmaking in the Modern Economy: Workers, Employers, and the Role of Educational Institutions as Intermediaries in the Employment Relationship
Saturday, Jan. 6, 2018 12:30 PM - 2:15 PM
- Chair: Susan J. Schurman, Rutgers University
Social Networks and the Teaching and Training of Important Skills: A Pilot Study of Educators and Employers in Southern Wisconsin and Western New York
AbstractResearch indicates that skills such as teamwork, communication, self-directed learning, and problem-solving are strongly linked to academic and workplace success, yet little is known regarding how college educators and employers learn (or not) to better teach or train these skills. This preliminary study uses social network analysis (SNA)—a research perspective and set of techniques studying social ties to better understand how interactions influence behavior—to explore, first, how often, if at all, postsecondary educators and training professionals discuss techniques for helping students or employees acquire these important skills and, second, how, if at all, educators and employers believe these kinds of discussions influence their teaching and training of teamwork, communication, self-directed learning, and problem-solving skills. A descriptive analysis of data from online surveys collected from educators (n=192) and employers (n=70) in linked technology and engineering fields in southern Wisconsin and western New York indicates such teaching- and training-focused discussions are widespread among respondents. Though college educators are more closely involved in such conversations than employers, most educators and employers who engage in teaching- and training-focused discussions perceive them to be beneficial to their teaching of teamwork, communication, self-directed learning, and problem-solving. In light of these findings, leaders hoping to encourage the development of teaching- and training-focused social networks among postsecondary educators and workforce trainers may find more success in openly promoting the importance of such social ties as well as providing more opportunities for intra- and inter-organizational professional development.
The Great Balancing Act: Community Colleges Serving Students' and Employers' Needs at the Intersection of the Employment Relationship
AbstractToday's community college have increasingly been called upon to engage with local employers and offer technical skills sought after in the low- to mid-skill job markets. Encouraged by federal grant programs and echoing the logic of WIOA training funds, this engagement is intended to both ensure students' training pathways lead to employment and to ensure employers' hiring needs are met. We utilize a mixed-methods, case study design focused on two colleges' manufacturing programs undergoing reforms using TAACCCT funding (Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College Training) from the U.S. Department of Labor. TAACCCT programs emphasize employer engagement, and seek to create clear pathways through community colleges and into in-demand jobs; they are a clear example of how employers and educators interact and work to influence each other. Drawing on interviews with key stakeholders in these institutions (faculty, staff, and administrators), as well as employer partners, we explore how colleges engage with employers, and what they seek from their employer partners. We examine employers' motivation for engagement with the colleges and their view of the role of the colleges as sources of skill development. We also explore ways that the school staff seek to influence employers on behalf of their students and institutions, from the selection of training equipment to working to create markets for the skills and credentials they are offering. Finally, we examine what employers and colleges get out of these relationships and how colleges balance employer preferences with the long-term needs of students. Finally, we discuss the implications for the relationships between colleges and students, colleges and employers, and employers and workers.
Employer and Education Institution Partnerships to Improve Jobs for Frontline Workers Summary
AbstractMany health care organizations are working to improve outcomes and reduce costs by redesigning the role of medical assistants (MAs) in primary care practices. This job redesign and career ladder development effort requires significant investment in human resource policy and practice overhaul, internal educational infrastructure and partnership with educational institutions. The purpose of this research is to understand the development of these resources and partnerships in an effort to support job redesign and career advancement for medical assistants. Mixed methods case study data on four health systems are used to examine care team member roles, workload and burnout before and after implementation of training to support work redesign intended to enhance MA roles in primary care. Data includes semi-structured interviews with key informants (e.g., senior leaders, providers, human resource managers, and MAs) and pre-post training web-based surveys from nurses, medical assistants, physicians and practice managers. Data also include baseline survey responses for MAs, care team members (largely providers) and practice managers. Common education-related facilitators include structured communication, a focus on active learning, strategic plan alignment, coalition development and availability of internal and external educational resources for team training. This study informs practice and strategic planning for health systems as they focus on care transformation to improve quality of care and control health care costs. Implications for employer-educational institution partnerships in the health care sector and impact of geography and contextual factors on success will be discussed.
- I2 - Education and Research Institutions