The College of Southern Nevada (CSN) conducted a statewide study among its Technology Education Business Alliance (TEBA), an advisory committee consisting of over 350 ICT professionals, to identify employment barriers for its ICT graduates. Concerning entry level ICT jobs, the survey found that employability skills are more important than technical skill attainment. To get hired, students must demonstrate teamwork, communication, critical thinking, perseverance, problem solving ability, and proper attire. Yet for many, these skills are neither intuitive nor part of any curriculum.
Responding to the survey finding, CSN, in collaboration with BATEC, TEBA, and the Allison Group, a Seattle-based consulting firm, developed “Content in Context,” a train-the-trainer model first implemented over three BATEC-facilitated workshops during the 2012/2013 academic year. Content in Context teaches faculty to incorporate real world pre- and post-employment applications into technical coursework. In a representative exercise, ICT faculty assume the role of students and articulate to industry over a two minute elevator pitch why they should be hired.
The model does not feature one size fits all approaches to integrating employability skills. Faculty are responsible for teaching the content and for that reason must own the content. At the close of workshops, participants propose curriculum modifications of their design for integrating employability skills into their respective classes to ICT professionals.
Content in Context meets a critical need by empowering faculty to integrate employability skills into technical coursework. Check our events page for upcoming workshops!