Future Ready Skills Translator

Translating Employer Job Performance Expectations for College Contexts: A Demand-Led Solution to the Skills Articulation Gap

Lead Organization: College Student Success Innovation Centre, Mohawk College

Research Team: Pamela Ingleton (Project Director), Natalie Ellis, Layne Wilson

Funder: Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) on behalf of the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC)'s College and Community Innovation (CCI) Program

Partners: Gerrie Electric, Thrive Group, Walters Group Inc.

Project Summary:

Industry and public concern about the "skills gap" is an intensifying problem lacking a comprehensive solution. Mohawk College's Future Ready Skills Translator (FRST) is a first-of-its-kind intervention designed to facilitate the translation of employer skills expectations in a way that directly impacts college curriculum. Within the proposed model, demand-led survey and consultation data from participating employer partners is “translated” to reveal specific skills profiles, leveraging content from the American Association of Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) VALUE rubrics (valid, skills-based rubrics used to measure essential skills developed through years of faculty, employer and accreditor consultations). Employers, researchers, faculty and students collaboratively develop real-world workplace scenarios representative of these profiles, which form the basis of interactive, workplace simulations within an artificial intelligence platform for piloting with current students. Data on student pilot performance and employer, faculty and student feedback will help establish a proof of concept for future development and application.  

This project benefits multiple stakeholders in direct and meaningful ways. Employers receive enhanced insight into and materials supporting recruitment, retention and employee professional development; faculty leverage customized exemplars and assessment schemes within curriculum, ensuring graduate employment preparedness; students gain unprecedented clarity and precision regarding specific job expectations, including through customized experiential learning; and Mohawk strengthens community partnerships, improves academic programming and promotes student success post-graduation. The skills articulation process and research outputs will also have broad applicability across industries and will help resolve the skills gap locally and nationally. This project builds on previous learning outcomes assessment research conducted by Mohawk's College Student Success Innovation Centre (CSSIC) and directly involves employer partners of Mohawk's new Future Ready Premium Program (FRPP), which aims to more actively engage industry in the training of job-ready college graduates.