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Suggested Citation:"5 Findings and Recommendations." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2016. Promising Practices for Strengthening the Regional STEM Workforce Development Ecosystem. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/21894.
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5

Findings and Recommendations

A compilation and analysis of the information and insights collected at the five workshop sites, even with the vast and rich set of ideas and experiences that emerged, does not constitute sufficient evidence to provide the basis for recommending time-tested “best practices.” Although numerous participants in the regions expressed the desire for access to such findings, a future study with a more systematic methodology would be required to identify such evidence-based best practices. There is, in any case, no “silver bullet” that can transform a limited partnership between universities and regional employers into a strong and effective relationship overnight. However, the committee heard from participants in the regional meetings that certain concrete steps can be taken that, over time, enable both sectors to collaborate in a sustained basis in ways that benefit students, business and industry, and colleges and universities, broadly strengthening the regional economies in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) narrow and STEM broad occupations alike. Such steps—such promising practices—are the focus of the findings and recommendations of this report.

We provide our concise findings and recommendations here, organized into five themes and presented in priority order, in the hope that the stakeholders will explore strategies to implement these ideas and test their efficacy in their communities. In addition to these findings and recommendations, we include Box 5-1 (at the end of this chapter), which identifies specific actions that key stakeholders within regional STEM workforce development ecosystems can take to build, strengthen, and sustain partnerships. The recommendations were shaped by both the findings and the committee members’ expertise at the higher education/industry nexus.

THEME A
STEM WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT ECOSYSTEMS:
ATTRIBUTES OF EFFECTIVE PARTNERSHIPS

Findings

Finding A1 – Well-structured formal university-employer partnerships are more successful in the long term than collaborations based on ad hoc relationships. Sometimes the partnerships rely on individual leaders (such as a university president or dean, or a local business executive) to initiate and sustain the relationship; in other cases, partnerships are activated and facilitated by an intermediary organization such as a chamber of commerce, a local business association, a government entity, or a nonprofit organization dedicated to building such connections. A robust and productive ecosystem requires proactive steps on behalf of university leaders, local employers, and intermediary organizations.

Finding A2 – It is incumbent on leaders within both sectors to foster a culture of collaboration and partnership organized around shared goals of building a strong STEM ecosystem, centered on a workforce well equipped with the knowledge, skills, and abilities that contribute to a region’s economic competitiveness.

Suggested Citation:"5 Findings and Recommendations." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2016. Promising Practices for Strengthening the Regional STEM Workforce Development Ecosystem. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/21894.
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Finding A3 – It is incumbent on intermediary organizations (e.g., chambers of commerce, workforce investment boards, economic development organizations, industry consortia) to facilitate the creation and maintenance of the workforce development ecosystem, by promoting organization, communication, and collaborative activities among universities and employers. The intermediary will be useful in facilitating the development of the ecosystem and ensuring that the following actions are undertaken by cross-sector partners.

Finding A4 – In effective partnerships, each actor recognizes that employers and higher education institutions have different cultural practices around reward systems, time lines, and risk taking; these partnerships are designed to overcome such differences through frank and open communication pathways.

Finding A5 – Attributes of successful partnerships include a high-level commitment (e.g., by a company chief executive officer [CEO] or local division head and university president or dean) between partners that is institutionalized and expressed at multiple levels within each organization; single and well-identified points of contact; continual feedback loops; and a sustainability plan that ensures continuity when key individuals leave the organization.

Finding A6 – More effective collaboration between employers and university partners can be achieved when partnerships promote the joint development of curricula, research projects, and experiential and applied learning opportunities for students, faculty, and industry representatives. The activities can take advantage of new developments in educational technology and redesigned textbooks.

Finding A7 – Advisory boards can be useful for initiating workforce development partnerships among employers and universities, but effective partnerships transcend the traditional unidirectional focus characteristic of many of these boards. Effective boards should engage employers more directly in the design and adaptation of curricula and programs to give students hands-on, experiential learning opportunities that will develop both technical and employability skills.

Finding A8 – Obligations and requirements of universities, departments, and individual faculty members can potentially pose systemic constraints on efforts to build stronger partnerships with the regional employer community. For example, accreditation—with its requirements for mandated course credits—can become a barrier to the development of innovative applied learning experiences such as internships and apprenticeships.1 In addition, individual faculty members may be discouraged from engaging in experiential activities of their own, such as spending time in employer settings and working in employer labs, despite the potential benefits to their students.

Finding A9 – This may be especially true for adjunct faculty who are increasingly hired to deliver lectures to large course sections and who are evaluated on their coverage of topics and achieving enrollment targets. Furthermore, because many faculty at research universities must raise funds to support their research projects and salaries, their priorities may be on research that will be funded, rather than workforce preparation or employer partnerships.

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1For example, ABET (Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology, Inc.) is a not-for-profit, nongovernmental accrediting agency for programs in applied science, computing, engineering, and engineering technology and is recognized as an accreditor by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation. ABET accreditation provides assurance that a college or university program meets the quality standards of the profession for which that program prepares graduates. More than 3,400 programs at nearly 700 colleges and universities in 28 countries have received ABET accreditation. Approximately 85,000 students graduate from ABET-accredited programs each year, and millions of graduates have received degrees from ABET-accredited programs since 1932. See http://www.abet.org/accreditation/. Accessed January 23, 2016.

Suggested Citation:"5 Findings and Recommendations." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2016. Promising Practices for Strengthening the Regional STEM Workforce Development Ecosystem. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/21894.
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Finding A10 – Efforts to protect intellectual property often serve as obstacles to collaboration between universities and employers.

Recommendations

Recommendation A1 – Leadership Matters: We recommend that university presidents and provosts assume a high-profile leadership role. They should actively reach out to regional employers, establish a strong and sustained presence in the local business community, and cultivate business engagement in college/university academic programs (beyond the traditional fundraising support). These leaders must make it known widely that their institutions are eager to embrace formal partnerships with the local employer community—and that specific policies and strategies can usually be implemented without the need for governing board approval, often by individual deans and faculty. At the same time, business leaders and other employer executives should openly encourage partnerships with universities by taking the initiative to reach out to presidents, deans, and faculty. Employers should identify specific ways in which they can support curriculum development and labs on campus, involve faculty and students in hands-on learning opportunities in their businesses, and encourage joint ventures that simultaneously support student learning and employer productivity goals. For example:

  • Deans and faculty from STEM departments should organize regular meetings that bring employers to campus to meet with faculty and students; discuss current and prospective workforce needs using real-time labor market data; gather the business community’s input into curricula and lab experiences; review and adapt to local needs existing standardized curricula and training programs such as those developed by scientific and professional societies; and provide forums for discussion of opportunities for formal student and faculty engagement in local businesses and other local employers through internships, apprenticeships, and faculty exchanges.
  • Local employer executives should designate at least one individual to serve as a liaison to local universities; that person should maintain a high profile on campuses—regularly engaging with deans, department heads, and faculty to identify specific strategies for formal alliances.
  • Just as university presidents and deans often cultivate deep interpersonal relationships with current and prospective major donors, they should do so with local business leaders, with the goal of securing formal relationships with employers that provide direct and frequent communication between business and university academic departments.
  • Business and university leaders should consider ways to incentivize faculty to engage in partnerships, perhaps by providing summer salary or research support.

Recommendation A2 – Intermediary Organizations are Essential: We recommend that regional third-party organizations (e.g., chambers of commerce or regional economic development organizations) take an active role in facilitating the creation and maintenance of university-industry partnerships and regional STEM workforce development ecosystems. They can do this by establishing lines of communication among partners: organizing convening events; helping employers and universities understand the region’s competitive advantages by addressing data and information needs; and perhaps most importantly, bringing promising partnership activities to scale. Third-party intermediaries will be most effective when they help establish and sustain a cross-sector collaborative. The high-functioning intermediary works to plan, convene, connect and broker, and measure and evaluate the collaborative’s activities and progress in developing the STEM workforce development ecosystem. The intermediary is essential to the collaborative, performing the following functions that help to develop, maintain, and sustain the collaborative, and thereby make comprehensive, systemic changes:

Suggested Citation:"5 Findings and Recommendations." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2016. Promising Practices for Strengthening the Regional STEM Workforce Development Ecosystem. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/21894.
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  • Planning, which involves building awareness among partners and working toward a common, sustained vision and regular establishment of shared goals; mapping existing programs; gathering labor market information and conducting sector analysis; and providing short- and long-term strategic planning.
  • Convening, which includes engaging local leaders, stakeholders, higher education partners, and industry partners; sharing best practices; and defining the mission and purpose of the collaborative effort.
  • Connecting and brokering, which entails connecting services and programs while transcending possible conflicts and competition among partners; linking employers, higher education institutions, and students so that students and job seekers participate in contextualized education and training, and employers enjoy a pool of qualified, skilled workers; and aligning funding and resources such that integrated funding streams leverage the effort and activities/services that are aligned.
  • Measuring and evaluating, which requires identifying and defining indicators in order to measure progress against goals, establishing quality standards agreed upon by partners, and facilitating systematic program evaluations.

Recommendation A3 – Faculty Time in Employer Settings: We recommend collaboration among university administrators and local business and government employers to create more formal opportunities for faculty to gain experience in the workplace. Short-term and long-term residential placements, summer internships, and occasional 1-day or 2-day participation in lab or worksite activities can give faculty a realistic sense of the knowledge, skills, and attributes necessary for their students’ success in the workplace across a variety of industries and occupations—and enable them to adapt their own curricula, instructional practices, and labs accordingly.

Recommendation A4 – Applying Lessons Learned from Community Colleges: Drawing on successful employer engagement and partnership models used at community colleges, we recommend that more 4-year colleges and universities, including research universities, pursue formal partnerships with local/regional employers to create opportunities for education and training experiences on the ground at worksites. Such initiatives can have the dual benefit of better aligning university curricula and labs with regional workforce needs and simultaneously contributing to productivity and efficiency in employer operations, which can enhance the economic strength of the employers and the health of the local economy. We also recommend that community colleges offer dual-enrollment options to expand pathways to STEM credentials and careers. While doing so, create appropriate “conflict-of-interest” policies and procedures that ensure that when employers are directly involved in shaping curricula and labs, and even serving as instructors and mentors, the interests of the students and the institutions remain paramount—not the profit interests of the employers.

Recommendation A5 – Use a Self-Assessment Tool: We recommend that universities, employers, and intermediary organizations use a self-assessment rubric/checklist aligned to the above recommendations (see Boxes 5-2 and 5-3, at the end of this chapter, for one such self-assessment tool as developed by the committee). Universities could use this tool to explore the development of stronger partnerships with employers and then create a roadmap for establishing such relationships. Such an “audit” mechanism might help universities create plans, strategies, targets, and benchmarks for aligning their programs/curricula with regional workforce needs and for engaging in more formal and more intensive ways with local employers. Employers, in turn, could use the tool to guide decisions and priorities for how best to engage with universities and overcome cultural and other factors that often impede the development of effective local partnerships. Boxes 5-2 and 5-3 provide an initial framework for the development and adoption of such a self-assessment tool—one for universities, and one for employers.

Suggested Citation:"5 Findings and Recommendations." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2016. Promising Practices for Strengthening the Regional STEM Workforce Development Ecosystem. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/21894.
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Recommendation A6 – Focus on Diversity: Colleges and universities must remain vigilant in their efforts to recruit and retain underrepresented minority students and females into STEM majors and pathways. They should provide support systems—drawing on local employers, where possible—that enable minority and female students to engage regularly with mentors and peers who might have faced, or are currently facing, similar challenges in meeting the demands of the curriculum. Institutions should explore the development of “early warning” systems to monitor student progress and alert faculty to challenges that minority students and female students are facing and may have difficulty addressing themselves without some kind of intervention and support.

THEME B
INFORMATION AND DATA NEEDS

Findings

Finding B1 – Many institutions of higher education struggle to identify real-time STEM workforce needs in their local and regional communities. Similarly, many employers struggle to describe their workforce needs in ways that are actionable by colleges and universities. Finally, existing national and regional data are insufficient to assess the effectiveness of higher education institutions in educating STEM-trained workers in response to workforce needs.

Finding B2 – Acquiring and analyzing real-time labor market information can be an important starting point for the creation of regional university-employer partnerships. Important elements of this initial step include efforts to compile the precise demands—current and future—for particular types of STEM narrow and STEM broad jobs, and identifying occupational areas in which a region has a competitive advantage. The availability of accurate information on the jobs and careers that will drive the regional economy in the years ahead is vital to ensuring that the STEM workforce development ecosystem is adaptable to changing economic conditions. This information is also essential to aligning education and training programs on local campuses with current and future workforce needs.

Finding B3 – The landscape around outcomes measurement of higher education is shifting and bending toward consideration of comprehensive data on student outcomes, including job placements and student earnings after graduation. More robust career outcomes measurement systems may be increasingly important and relevant for colleges and universities.

Recommendation

Recommendation B1 – Make Data Collection and Analysis a Priority: We recommend that universities, local/regional businesses, and local governments place a high priority on identifying current and future skills and jobs needs in the regional economy—using both traditional and real-time labor market information when available. Areas of competitive advantage can serve as a focal point for partners. By intentionally organizing their efforts around these occupations and skill sets, the partners can maximize their success in aligning the knowledge and skills that students acquire on campus and the knowledge and skills they must bring to the workforce to be successful in jobs and careers. It is imperative that employers communicate their needs in an actionable and realistic manner, so that the expectations of both partners are aligned. Moreover, universities should collect information on, and make public, the number of STEM degrees among their graduates matched against regional market data for STEM jobs. This is also consistent with the need to collect and report data on career pathways, career outcomes, and gainful

Suggested Citation:"5 Findings and Recommendations." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2016. Promising Practices for Strengthening the Regional STEM Workforce Development Ecosystem. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/21894.
×

employment opportunities, as reflected in the new federal College Scorecard announced by the U.S. Department of Education in summer 2015.2

THEME C
APPLIED LEARNING: APPRENTICESHIPS, INTERNSHIPS, COOPERATIVE
EDUCATION, AND EXPERIENTIAL LEARNING OPPORTUNITIES

Findings

Finding C1 – Internship and cooperative programs can provide authentic, problem-based learning experiences that benefit both students and future employers. The importance of internships and cooperatives for strong STEM workforce development partnerships was noted by participants at all five regional workshops. The need for paid internships was seen as especially vital for low- and moderate-income students who often work to support their education.

Finding C2 – While all students benefit from richer, more rigorous academic experiences, and from more hands-on authentic learning, the needs of underrepresented minority students and female students must be paramount if we are to close the achievement gaps and participation gaps in STEM majors and careers.

Finding C3 – Hands-on, experiential learning in the classroom (across K-16) is an important pedagogical approach for attracting and retaining students in STEM fields as well as for giving them the necessary skills to thrive in the workforce. Moreover, it is important that such engagement begin soon after students enroll at the university (i.e., their freshman and sophomore years) and continue to degree completion. Hands-on, experiential learning is particularly important for underrepresented minority students and female students, who, too often, are “turned off” of science and engineering (in middle school, high school, and even in college) because the course experiences are not made relevant to their interests and to the real world of work.

Finding C4 – Because there are not enough paid slots among local employers for internships, apprenticeships, cooperative education, and other work-based learning for all interested students, colleges and universities must be more intentional and committed to creating applied learning experiences on campus. These experiences can be in courses or through extracurricular activities that use simulation and modeling of real-world work scenarios to expose students to such opportunities.

Finding C5 – Faculty members themselves often need hands-on experiential learning opportunities to fully understand local and regional workforce needs. These experiences enable faculty to keep current with developments in the types of skills most in demand in different industry sectors and can help faculty update or redesign their curricula and pedagogy in response to industry trends.

Recommendations

Recommendation C1 – Apprenticeships, Internships, and Cooperative Education: We recommend that local employers and universities explore ways to give many more students the hands-on, experiential learning opportunities they require in a work setting. We further recommend expanding apprenticeship, internship, and cooperative education opportunities—including

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2See https://collegescorecard.ed.gov/. Last accessed on 4/9/2016.

Suggested Citation:"5 Findings and Recommendations." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2016. Promising Practices for Strengthening the Regional STEM Workforce Development Ecosystem. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/21894.
×

scholarships for students to serve for at least one semester in a business, particularly a laboratory or other setting that involves working with a team to address one or more STEM-related challenges. These programs should recognize the need for broadening participation in STEM educational and career pathways.

Recommendation C2 – Sponsorships of Internship Opportunities: Building upon the above recommendation, we urge universities and businesses to investigate the efficacy of adapting the model successfully used by many universities to create donor-sponsored athletic scholarships—and apply that model to apprenticeships and internships for students. When they understand the value of internships and apprenticeships, alumni, local businesses, local community foundations, and perhaps other prospective donors may be motivated to sponsor programs that can give students the work-based experiential learning they need for future workplace success and incentivize their persistence in important STEM pursuits.

Recommendation C3 – Mentors are Key: We recommend that employers and universities develop strategies for identifying and training more mentors from local businesses and government entities and assigning them to undergraduate students. The benefits of “one arm around one child” are well known and widely accepted in elementary, middle, and high school. They can be equally valuable to university students who might be succeeding in the classroom but have little understanding of what is expected in a work setting. Such mentoring is of particular importance for women students and students from underrepresented minorities, who often lack a sense of “belonging” in the STEM-related workforce and who may not have had exposure to role models (as faculty or as peers) in the science with whom they can directly identify.

Recommendation C4 – Applied, Experiential Learning—On Campus: Universities should create—or adopt—on-campus models that simulate real-world laboratory and employment settings, either in courses or extracurricular activities. Giving students applied learning experiences that closely resemble the conditions and situations they will face in the workplace can help them think critically, adapt to unanticipated obstacles, work as members of teams, communicate effectively, and overcome failure. Faculty with some industrial or business experience can be useful here in bringing first-hand knowledge of these activities.

THEME D
EMPLOYABILITY SKILLS

Findings

Finding D1 – Employability skills are the attitudes, behaviors, motivational states, and skills that employers deem as critical for workplace success, including collaboration and teamwork, effective communication (oral and written), problem-solving, empathy and trustworthiness, and interdisciplinary thinking. A consistent and powerful message from employers at all five regional meetings was that these skills, are among the most vital skills for a graduate to thrive in the workplace—at least as important, if not more so, than technical knowledge and skills. Employers frequently noted that students who enter the workforce with some level of proficiency in these skills are usually more effective and trusted colleagues than those who have had little or no opportunity to develop these skills.

Finding D2 – Professional scientific and engineering societies often provide courses and webinars on employability skills. Local student or campus chapters of such societies can give students the opportunity to learn and apply a range of employability skills first-hand, and encouraging undergraduate students to be involved in professional societies can be a first step toward lifelong learning.

Suggested Citation:"5 Findings and Recommendations." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2016. Promising Practices for Strengthening the Regional STEM Workforce Development Ecosystem. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/21894.
×

Recommendations

Recommendation D1 – Research on Employability Skills: In recognition of the need to strengthen the employability skills of students before they enter the workforce, we recommend that employers, government agencies such as the National Science Foundation and the U.S. Departments of Education and Labor, and philanthropic foundations fund research to (1) better understand the relationship between mastery of employability skills while in undergraduate and graduate education on the one hand, and early success in a STEM career in the other; (2) better understand the most effective classroom, laboratory, and extracurricular strategies on campus, and through work-based learning experiences, that support the development of those skills in undergraduate and graduate students; and (3) better understand how employability skills are best measured and assessed, by both educators and employers. In particular, we recommend further research that investigates the importance of the following skills in the STEM workforce and identifies potential strategies for helping students become proficient in these areas:

  • Ethical behavior and trustworthiness
  • Self-confidence, a positive outlook, sincerity, civility, and accepting responsibility
  • Perseverance and “grit”
  • Effective communication, including advocacy and persuasion
  • Effective collaboration, including leadership, teamwork, and consensus building
  • Entrepreneurial mindset and associated business acumen
  • Interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary thinking
  • Creativity, curiosity, and design
  • Empathy and social responsibility
  • Global awareness and perspective3

Recommendation D2 – Cultivating Employability Skills in Students: We recommend that universities and employers work together to create regionally focused, applied learning activities that draw on real-world workplace challenges and can only be solved using a combination of technical and employability skills. Such activities can be integrated into the curricula and labs of STEM departments; can be made available to local college and university students through local competitions and extracurricular programs; can be part of student internships and apprenticeships; and can be made available online to students who can work in teams comprising other students, faculty, and employers. We also recommend encouraging students to be active in local and regional chapters of professional scientific and engineering societies. Among the characteristics of programs that could help students develop stronger employability skills are the following:

  • Project-based learning activities on campus that require students to draw on their STEM skills to address the technical challenge, but also encourage them to develop their teamwork skills by working in collaboration with others and their communication skills by preparing written and oral presentations on their project activities and project outcomes.
  • Work-based learning activities (e.g., internships and apprenticeships) that require students to work jointly with professionals and other students on a work-based challenge, to devise a business plan (including budgets and strategic plans) to undertake a project, to present their plans to senior executives in writing and orally, to assume leadership roles that include supervisory and managerial responsibilities, and to develop solutions to problems that may not have a single “right” answer—or no right answer at all.

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3Miller, R. K. (May 2015). Why the Hard Science of Engineering is No Longer Enough to Meet the 21st Century Challenges. Olin College of Engineering.

Suggested Citation:"5 Findings and Recommendations." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2016. Promising Practices for Strengthening the Regional STEM Workforce Development Ecosystem. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/21894.
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  • Participation in “Maker” projects, such as robotics competitions, grand challenges competitions, and other activities in which students work with teams to build a product, solve a real-world problem, or persuade others to take a course of action.

THEME E
PUBLIC POLICY

Findings

Finding E1 – State and local governments can implement policies and programs to catalyze, support, and sustain effective and sustainable workforce development partnerships between universities and employers, which in turn can contribute substantially to a region’s economic development.

Finding E2 – While effective collaboration may most often be initiated by individuals and groups in universities and in businesses, effective partnerships can also be launched and sustained by state and local government agencies.

Recommendations

Recommendation E1 – State and Local Public Policies to Support University-Business-Government Partnerships: We recommend that state legislators and local government officials explore the following types of policies that can create conditions that enhance the viability and productivity of existing and future partnerships and alliances:

  • Public funding that encourages state and local partnerships between higher education and industry remains an important lever for career development and economic growth. While government support is not the sole or perhaps even the primary driver of education, training, and economic development, public funding can create the conditions in which partnerships may be launched and can thrive. Recognizing that federal and state dollars are likely to become even less available in the future than they have been in the past, we still urge that states and communities make strategic and stable investments that can leverage greater private support for collaboration.
  • State legislatures or governors should focus on initiatives that encourage local college/university-employer partnerships, including providing better real-time labor market information.
  • County commissioners or city councils should consider designating a local government official charged with fostering local partnerships by serving as a broker between college/university leaders and business leaders, and by encouraging the initiatives cited above, such as scholarships for internships/apprenticeships, stronger mentoring opportunities, and faculty exchanges.
  • State and local governments should recognize the costs associated with new or expanded programs to stimulate STEM education and training—both because the average cost to educate STEM undergraduates is generally higher than the average cost of educating humanities undergraduates and because the costs of educating STEM workers will increase as more and more students are attracted into STEM fields of study.

Recommendation E2 – Governors, Mayors, and Other Policy Makers as “Champions” of Collaboration: High-profile policy leaders should be strong advocates for robust university-industry partnerships. Of course, funding and legislative policies that incentivize such collaboration are important, but so too are public statements and public events that showcase the important

Suggested Citation:"5 Findings and Recommendations." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2016. Promising Practices for Strengthening the Regional STEM Workforce Development Ecosystem. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/21894.
×

benefits of university-industry partnerships. We urge governors, mayors, and other executives to assume high-visibility roles in championing such collaboration.

  • Recommendation E3 – Federal Policy and Action: Consistent with the goals and recommendations of Rising Above the Gathering Storm and legislation such as the America COMPETES Act, we recommend that the National Science Foundation; U.S. Departments of Labor, Education, and Defense; and other federal agencies use their grant-making capabilities to encourage greater collaboration between universities and industries that can enhance both education and job creation. The National Science Foundation’s Advanced Technological Education program is an example of a promising model that establishes partnerships between academic institutions and industry to promote improvement in the education of science and engineering technicians at the undergraduate and secondary school levels. This is a federal program worth exploring for further replication or expansion.

BOX 5-1 Specific Steps for Each Key Actor in Regional
STEM Workforce Development Ecosystems

BUSINESS LEADERS

  • Foster a spirit of collaboration with local and regional higher education institutions so that employees are empowered to engage in collaborative workforce-building activities.
  • Reach out to university presidents and deans and offer to build over time a university-business partnership that strengthens the local economy, enhances business operations, and creates more learning opportunities for students—many of whom will be the future employees of the business.
  • Designate a high-level executive to serve as the initial point of contact with one or more local universities, and give this individual the power and authority to enter into formal relationships with local institutions (and, where appropriate, with third-party intermediaries). Make this effort a high-profile, high-priority activity of the business. The position should be established within the CEO’s office as a business development function, rather than in the company’s human resources division.
  • Work with one or more local higher education leaders, government officials, or third-party intermediaries to conduct a regional assessment of the economy that includes multiple sources of labor market data and employers’ assessment of the current and future workforce needs, and identifies the specific steps that are under way (and/or that need to be launched or expanded) to support stronger collaboration among partners—with the dual goals of enhancing the local economy and strengthening student preparation for success in the regional workforce.
  • Prioritize the development of as many work-based learning opportunities as possible for students and faculty—including paid internships, apprenticeships, and other experiences that provide hands-on, experiential learning at the worksite. Ensure that these opportunities include stipends or wages and emphasize diversity and the inclusion of groups traditionally underrepresented in STEM fields.
  • Reach out to other businesses in the region with the same technical skill needs and develop collaborative programs to enlarge the region’s STEM-capable workforce. Consider joining or creating sector-focused consortia.
  • Encourage employees to serve as mentors to local college and university students—especially to underrepresented minority students and female students who may not have exposure to many role models pursuing this career pathway. Urge mentors to meet regularly with students, and even bring them to the worksite regularly to participate in meetings, projects, and other activities.
Suggested Citation:"5 Findings and Recommendations." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2016. Promising Practices for Strengthening the Regional STEM Workforce Development Ecosystem. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/21894.
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UNIVERSITY PRESIDENTS

  • Foster a spirit of collaboration with local and regional businesses, including empowering faculty to engage in cooperative and workforce-building activities.
  • Work with one or more local business leaders, government officials, or third-party intermediaries to conduct a regional assessment of the economy that includes multiple sources of labor market data and local employers’ assessment of the current and future workforce needs, and identifies the specific steps that are under way (and/or that need to be launched or expanded) to support stronger collaboration among partners—with the dual goals of enhancing the local economy and strengthening student preparation for success in the regional workforce. Make this a high-profile exercise to work with local business leaders and others to “take stock” of local employer workforce needs, and make a public commitment to better aligning the university’s education programs, labs, curricula, and applied learning experiences to future STEM workforce projections.
  • Designate a high-level administrator or faculty member to serve as the initial point of contact with local businesses and give this individual the power and authority to enter into formal relationships with them (and, where appropriate, with third-party intermediaries). Make this effort a high-profile, high-priority activity of the university. Among the responsibilities of this individual should be coordinating departmental STEM advisory boards.
  • Organize and host a regional meeting on campus involving prospective partners, including business leaders, government agencies, chambers of commerce, individual entrepreneurs, and civic associations—focused on creating and sustaining a regional STEM workforce development ecosystem that shares the common goals of improving the local economy and strengthening human capital resources in the region.
  • Encourage the creation of one or more STEM advisory boards on campus—housed in various academic departments and coordinated by the individual with responsibility for serving as the point of contact for business—for the purpose of regularly and deliberately engaging the local employer community in discussions about current and prospective workforce needs, collaboration, engagement, and mutual support. Ensure that these advisory boards are sufficiently diverse and emphasize the importance of broadening participation in STEM.
  • Using student migration analyses, track attrition in STEM courses and majors in the first 2 years of undergraduate education, and create a plan for increasing completion rates in STEM majors, especially for female and underrepresented minority students. Make use of the variety of evidence-based interventions known to improve student retention and persistence in STEM majors and occupations.

UNIVERSITY DEANS AND FACULTY

  • Work with third-party intermediaries to create a regional advisory board that involves both business leaders and employees to ensure that the knowledge, skills, and attributes that students are gaining through their educational experiences are aligned with current and future workforce needs. If necessary, involve local industry officials in the redesign or creation of curricula, labs, and other campus-based experiences.
  • Seek out opportunities for both faculty and students to secure internships, apprenticeships, and other work-based learning experiences in local industry and government agencies and labs. In addition, bring local business leaders and employees into the classroom and campus labs as visiting instructors on how industry works to remain current in rapidly changing fields.
  • When internships and apprenticeships are limited, create simulated real-world applied learning experiences on campus that mirror the experiences in local worksites, so that students have exposure to workplace conditions and challenges and ensure that
Suggested Citation:"5 Findings and Recommendations." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2016. Promising Practices for Strengthening the Regional STEM Workforce Development Ecosystem. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/21894.
×
  • accreditation requirements do not become a barrier to the development of innovative applied learning experiences. Recognize that the workplace is often characterized by challenging multilayered problems that require teamwork and collaboration and good interpersonal relationships to identify possible solutions.

  • Remain vigilant with efforts to recruit and retain underrepresented minority students and females into STEM majors and pathways. Provide support systems that enable minority and female students to engage regularly with mentors and peers who might have faced, or are currently facing, similar challenges in meeting the demands of the curriculum. Create an early warning system to monitor student progress and alert faculty to challenges that students are facing and may have difficulty addressing themselves without some kind of intervention and support.
  • Track enrollment and attrition in STEM courses and majors in the first 2 years of undergraduate education, and create a plan for increasing completion rates in STEM majors, especially for female and underrepresented minority students. Make use of the variety of evidence-based interventions known to improve student retention and persistence in STEM majors and occupations.
  • Ensure that appropriate incentives are in place for faculty who champion collaborative partnership activities: tenure, salary, summer funding, and infrastructure and personnel resources as needed. Consider grants for workforce development activities as having similar levels of prestige as those for research activities.

STATE AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT AGENCIES

  • Work with a third-party intermediary to organize and facilitate a rigorous data collection and analysis effort that attempts to understand the current and future workforce needs in the region, and communicate the findings with both university officials and local businesses.
  • Collaborate with third-party intermediary organizations focused on the creation of university-industry partnerships.
  • Use legislation and, where possible, funding to incentivize partnerships, collaboration, internships, and other activities that bring students and faculty into regular and sustained contact with local employers. Even relatively modest investments of federal, state, or local dollars can encourage employers and institutions to dedicate time and resources to fostering creative partnerships that can then be sustained over time.

THIRD-PARTY INTERMEDIARIES
(e.g., Chambers of Commerce, Workforce Investment Boards,
Economic Development Organizations, Industry Consortia)

  • Prioritize the importance of broadening participation in STEM education and workforce development pathways by helping to organize, support, and sustain cross-sector partnerships for workforce preparation.
  • Facilitate the creation of effective workforce development partnerships among local employers and universities by
    • Bridging some of the cultural and communication barriers that can present obstacles to partnerships;
    • Establishing lines of communication between partners;
    • Organizing convening events;
    • Helping employers and universities understand the region’s competitive advantages by addressing data and information needs;
    • Bringing promising partnership activities to scale; and
    • Assisting with securing outside sources of funding, as appropriate.

Fulfill strategic functions of planning, convening, connecting and brokering, and measuring and evaluating collaborative efforts in order to promote the development, maintenance, and long-term sustainability of the STEM workforce development ecosystem.

Suggested Citation:"5 Findings and Recommendations." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2016. Promising Practices for Strengthening the Regional STEM Workforce Development Ecosystem. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/21894.
×

BOX 5-2 Initial Framework for a Self-Assessment Inventory of the
Strength of Workforce Partnerships: Institutions of Higher Education

Partnership Activity I: Structured Partnership with Local Employers, as Reflected by a Strong Commitment from University Administrators and Faculty

Strong Connections

image Strong support from and active engagement with the business community, with a concrete set of goals/outcomes that are measured and updated regularly.

image Department budgets within the university are dedicated to formal partnership activities—and include funding for outreach, student work-based learning, and faculty exchange.

image Collection, analysis, and sharing of data on projected workforce needs (and identification of the competitive economic advantages in the region) to map out an action plan involving local employers, universities, government agencies, and intermediaries to undertake a local economic development strategy.

image Formal work-based learning programs for students and faculty are pursued and created in close collaboration with local employers.

Moderate Connections

image Occasional announcements, memos, or events that attempt to spark interest in stronger collaboration with local/regional employers.

image Ad hoc arrangements between a few departments and a few local employers, but with little focus on formal collaboration and the development of formal work-based learning programs for students and faculty.

image Some analysis of graduation and job placement data, but little or no effort to connect the data to local economic development conditions.

image Occasional opportunities for faculty employment in local businesses.

Weak Connections

image Lack of institutional support from high-level administrators (provost, dean, department chairs).

image Infrequent engagement between university faculty and local business executives and/or employees.

image No plan—formal or informal—for collaboration with local employers.

image Inadequate or no data on STEM graduation rates, job placement information, or the value of the institution’s contributions to the local economy.

image The local university is not widely viewed as having an integral and sustained role in the local economic development strategy and the local “STEM workforce development ecosystem.”

Comment: Such a partnership can be initiated from the highest levels (e.g., university president) or launched by faculty and/or department chairs. The key is to get buy-in promptly across all levels of the campus administration regardless of where the initial trigger occurs—and to ensure that funds are set aside to support partnership activities, especially those involving student work-based learning and faculty exchange programs.


Partnership Activity II: Designated Individual(s) Appointed to Serve as an Initial and Sustained Point of Contact with Local Employers

Strong Connections

image Designated faculty or administrator appointee(s) within a college or department; the appointee(s) compensated for this extraordinary role and a dedicated budget for outreach; high-profile, highly visible role for the individual(s) within the employer community.

Suggested Citation:"5 Findings and Recommendations." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2016. Promising Practices for Strengthening the Regional STEM Workforce Development Ecosystem. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/21894.
×

Moderate Connections

image Designated faculty or administrator appointee(s) within a college or department, but insufficient authority or incentive to engage with employers, and little accountability.

Weak Connections

image No designated appointee on campus, or a designated appointee who is not active or visible in the local employer community

Comment: The appointees’ job descriptions need to be updated to reflect this formal role, and they need to be held accountable for their actions and inactions in the performance review process.


Partnership Activity III Active Advisory Board that Includes Broad Representation from Local Employers

Strong Connections

image Active advisory board that includes a mix of high-level executives and “on-the-ground” workers from local businesses, government agencies, and nonprofit intermediaries; may involve the creation of multiple boards on campus that are embedded in various departments.

image Possibly cochaired by an employer and a university official.

image A budget for the board’s activities—cofunded by both the university and the employers.

Moderate Connections

image Advisory board that meets occasionally, mainly for ceremonial or fundraising purposes—or on an ad hoc basis for specific activities or programs, but without a long-term action plan.

image An advisory board that includes midlevel university administrators and midlevel business executives, but no or few people with high-level authority on campus or in the businesses.

Weak Connections

image No advisory board, or an advisory board that meets infrequently or solely for social occasions.

Comment: The board should hold occasional high-profile events both on campus and in the community to showcase this collaborative partnership. It may create subcommittees that addresses various challenges and needs—for example, updating curricula or lab activities, creating internships and apprenticeships, and creating metrics for measuring the growth (and impact) of the partnership over time.


Partnership Activity IV: Employer Input into the Development and Design/Redesign of University STEM Curricula and Labs

Strong Connections

image Regular meetings of a formal body composed of department or college faculty and local employers with deep knowledge of currency in the STEM fields to examine and evaluate the course curricula and labs.

image Focused on updating and enhancing the curricula and labs to reflect current knowledge and research.

image Joint development of project-based learning experiences in curricula and labs.

Suggested Citation:"5 Findings and Recommendations." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2016. Promising Practices for Strengthening the Regional STEM Workforce Development Ecosystem. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/21894.
×

Moderate Connections

image Ad hoc relationships in which some individual faculty members and some employers meet regularly to consider updating course curricula or labs.

image Appointment of a study group or task force (including both faculty and local business people) to periodically review the curricula and lab experiences of students and provide general input and advice.

image Insufficient reliance on research and data to drive the updating of labs and curricula and making them current.

Weak Connections

image No employer/industry input into course curricula and labs.

Comment: There are many opportunities for local employers to influence the process of updating and strengthening curricula and labs. Faculty exchange programs and programs whereby employers serve as visiting instructors and/or mentors to faculty are an important and valued activity. But more formal efforts that rely on deep examination of the research on latest advances in the disciplines and in the work-based practices can yield more evidence-based means of updating and strengthening course curricula and labs.


Partnership Activity V: Faculty Appointments in Industry/Employer Sites for Short-term Periods

Strong Connections

image Multiple, customized arrangements whereby faculty spend a few weeks, a summer, or a semester in a paid “detail” to a local industry or government agency employer.

image Faculty receive real-time, supervised experience in the work setting or the lab learning and experiencing the latest developments in the field and understanding the knowledge, skills, and attitudes that their own students will need to develop in order to be prepared for STEM careers.

Moderate Connections

image Ad hoc relationships with employers that enable faculty to gain some experiences in industry settings, for example, for a day, a few weeks, or a summer.

image Occasional exchanges between faculty and local employers whereby the faculty spends a day or two in a local business setting (or lab) and a business person delivers lectures or leads lab work on campus.

Weak Connections

image No faculty engaged in an active and meaningful way with local STEM employers—even informally.

Comment: The aforementioned faculty-employer exchanges can be valuable, particularly when the exchanges are systematic and structured, with faculty spending a dedicated set of time in the business/government worksite (and are supervised and mentored), and business/government employees spend a significant amount of time on campus as instructors, project leaders, mentors, and so forth.


Partnership Activity VI: Apprenticeships and Internships for Students

Strong Connections

image Multiple formal apprenticeships, internships, and other work-based experiences for students in local industries or government worksites—preferably for pay.

Suggested Citation:"5 Findings and Recommendations." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2016. Promising Practices for Strengthening the Regional STEM Workforce Development Ecosystem. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/21894.
×

image Such work-based learning experiences have these three characteristics: (1) a formal agreement between the employer, the university, and the students on the term of appointment, work requirements, and compensation; (2) a meaningful employment experience that advances the student’s learning and supports the mission and business plan of the employer; (3) a formal evaluation of the student’s performance and of the structure of the relationship, both during the term of the appointment and at the end of the experience.

Moderate Connections

image Few opportunities for internships and apprenticeships for students; unstructured and not-well-supervised experiences for students that are not directly linked to course curricula and labs.

image No mentors or weak mentor relationships for the students.

Weak Connections

image No or very few formal apprenticeships or internships.

Comment: The opportunity for more work-based learning was frequently cited by our workshop participants as among the highest priorities for developing the well-prepared workforce for the 21st century in STEM fields. Even on those occasions in which there are not enough slots for paid internships and fellowships among local employers, university faculty and administrators can engage with employers to create simulated work-based learning experiences on campus—giving students exposure to real work challenges even without spending time in an employer setting.


Partnership Activity VII: Joint University/Industry Focus on the Development of Employability Skills or Professional Skills of Students and Workers

Strong Connections

image Active efforts to involve local employers in campus-based project learning and real-world problem solving that encourages students to work collaboratively and that fosters creativity, strong communication skills, and critical thinking.

Moderate Connections

image Occasional discussions with employers about the relevance of employability skills in the workforce and the need to introduce these skills into regular campus-based experiences.

Weak Connections

image No efforts to extend learning beyond basic STEM knowledge and skills development in a meaningful and sustained way—in a manner that better reflects the realities of the 21st century workplace.

Comment: This is related to the topic above focused on more collaboration between industry and universities in constructing more real-world, “grand challenges” types of learning experiences for students.

Suggested Citation:"5 Findings and Recommendations." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2016. Promising Practices for Strengthening the Regional STEM Workforce Development Ecosystem. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/21894.
×

BOX 5-3 Initial Framework for a Self-Assessment Inventory of the Strength of Workforce Partnerships: with Local Employers—Businesses, Nonprofits, Government Agencies

Partnership Activity I: Structured Partnership with Local Universities, as Reflected by a Strong Commitment from All Levels of the Employer—Starting with the CEO

Strong Connections

image Strong statements and actions of support for partnerships with local universities from the CEO—and active roles for the CEO, senior executives, and line staff in collaborative programs with one or more local universities.

image Includes regular and frequent interactions about strategies to align the curricula, labs, and programs on campus with the current and future workforce needs of the employer.

image Characterized by a formal, joint effort to use data on current/projected workforce needs (and identification of the competitive economic advantages in the region).

Moderate Connections

image Infrequent announcements, memos, or events that attempt to engage local universities in collaborative efforts.

image Creation of a committee or board charged with developing stronger ties to the higher education community—but lacking in sufficient follow-through and not designated as a high priority.

image Providing modest grants to support equipment or facility purchases, but little engagement beyond financial contributions.

Weak Connections

image Only occasional (or no) engagement with local universities, and no formal plans and procedures to work jointly with local higher education institutions.

Comment: An important element of this is sustaining the engagement. Too often there is an initial burst of energy around the design and execution of a formal partnership—which might include a public signing ceremony. But the key is a sustained collaboration that includes regular discussion on how to align campus experiences for students and faculty with employer workforce needs and opportunities.


Partnership Activity II: Designated Individual(s) Appointed to Serve as an Initial and Sustained Point of Contact with Local Universities

Strong Connections

image Designated senior executive within the company or organization who has direct ties to the CEO and is an active partner with university administrators, faculty, and students.

image The designee has a high-profile, highly visible role within the STEM (and other) departments and colleges on campus as an advisor, facilitator, and program implementer.

Moderate Connections

image Designated appointee(s) who have little overall organizational authority (although may have authority or influence within a unit or division of the industry).

image Occasional contact with university faculty or officials, often for ceremonial events, but rarely for the purposes of helping inform university programs based on regional workforce priorities and needs.

Weak Connections

image No designated appointee, or a designated appointee who is not active or visible in the campus community.

Suggested Citation:"5 Findings and Recommendations." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2016. Promising Practices for Strengthening the Regional STEM Workforce Development Ecosystem. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/21894.
×

Comment: The senior executive appointees’ job descriptions should be updated to reflect this formal role, and they should be held accountable for their actions and inactions in the performance review process. Their presence on campus should be regular and frequent—and should involve meaningful engagement in curriculum design and program redesign.


Partnership Activity III: Employer Input into the Development and Design/Redesign of University STEM Curricula and Labs

Strong Connections

image Regular meetings of a formal body composed of local employer officers and line workers (including mainly STEM workers and managers) as well as department or college faculty.

image Joint development of more project-based learning experiences in course curricula and labs that reflect interdisciplinary, convergence, team science, and other real-world models of STEM disciplines.

Moderate Connections

image Occasional input into curricula and/or labs on campus.

image Participation in a study group or task force (including both employers’ staff and executives and university faculty) to periodically review the curricula and lab experiences of students and provide general input and advice.

Weak Connections

image No employer/industry input into course curricula and labs.

Comment: Employers need to manage intellectual property and proprietary information carefully, and may need a formal, legal agreement with university officials that addresses how to handle the exchange of such information. Intellectual property issues can become a roadblock to strong collaboration and therefore should be addressed early in the relationship.


Partnership Activity IV: Employer Manager and Staff Appointments as Visiting Instructors, Adjunct Faculty, or Occasional Lecturers

Strong Connections

image Multiple, customized arrangements whereby employers’ managers and staff spend a few weeks, a summer, or a semester in a paid instructional and researcher role on campus—or at his/her worksite, but involving students and faculty.

image Courses and labs led by these employer staff on campus are offered for credit and bring to bear new knowledge about disciplines, provide students and faculty with exposure to new skill sets, and support team-based and project-based learning in a way that reflects the real world of work.

Moderate Connections

image Employers appointed as faculty or lecturers on occasion, but little opportunity for a systemic, sustained change in the way courses are taught or labs are designed.

image Ad hoc or infrequent exchanges between faculty and local employers whereby the faculty spends a day or two in a local business setting (or lab) and a business person delivers a few lectures or leads some lab work on campus.

Weak Connections

image No employers engaged in an active and meaningful role as instructors.

Suggested Citation:"5 Findings and Recommendations." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2016. Promising Practices for Strengthening the Regional STEM Workforce Development Ecosystem. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/21894.
×

Comment: The aforementioned faculty-employer exchanges can be valuable, particularly when the exchanges are systematic and structured, with faculty spending a dedicated set of time in the business/government worksite (and are supervised and mentored), and business/government employees spend a significant amount of time on campus as instructors, project leaders, mentors, and so forth.


Partnership Activity V: Apprenticeships and Internships for Students

Strong Connections

image Employers, recognizing the value and benefit of work-based learning experiences for undergraduate and graduate students, create multiple formal apprenticeships, internships, and other experiences for students in their worksites—preferably for pay.

Moderate Connections

image Some internships, unpaid or paid, but without significant structure or oversight that aligns with students’ academic and career goals, and without a formal plan that enhances and updates the arrangements based on changing workforce needs.

Weak Connections

image No and very few formal apprenticeships or internships.

Comment: The opportunity for more work-based learning was frequently cited by our workshop participants as among the highest priorities for preparing the well-prepared workforce of the 21st century in STEM fields.


Partnership Activity VI: Joint University/Industry Focus on the Development of Employability Skills or Professional Skills of Students and Workers

Strong Connections

image Active efforts by local employers to create and implement campus-based project learning and real-world problem solving that encourages students to work collaboratively and that fosters creativity, strong communication skills, and critical thinking.

image Sponsorship of programs or competitions (e.g., such as robotics contest or “Maker-Movement” activities whereby students are invited to work as teams to solve real-world problems in the workplace and present their findings to panels of employer managers and staff.

Moderate Connections

image Occasional visits by employers to campuses to deliver lectures or workshops on the importance of employability skills to workplace success.

image Some efforts to provide information and advice to students on the employability skills they will be expected to bring to the workplace. But the activities are in the form of information sharing, lecturing, or handouts that describe those skills but do not necessarily give students an experiential learning opportunity to practice them.

Weak Connections

image No efforts by employers to engage students and faculty in an understanding of the need to extend learning beyond basic STEM knowledge and skills development in a meaningful and sustained way—in a manner that better reflects the realities of the 21st century workplace.

Comment: This is related to the topic above focused on more collaboration between industry and universities in constructing more real-world, “grand challenges” types of learning experiences for students.

Suggested Citation:"5 Findings and Recommendations." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2016. Promising Practices for Strengthening the Regional STEM Workforce Development Ecosystem. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/21894.
×

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Suggested Citation:"5 Findings and Recommendations." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2016. Promising Practices for Strengthening the Regional STEM Workforce Development Ecosystem. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/21894.
×

Appendixes

Suggested Citation:"5 Findings and Recommendations." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2016. Promising Practices for Strengthening the Regional STEM Workforce Development Ecosystem. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/21894.
×

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Suggested Citation:"5 Findings and Recommendations." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2016. Promising Practices for Strengthening the Regional STEM Workforce Development Ecosystem. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/21894.
×
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×
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Suggested Citation:"5 Findings and Recommendations." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2016. Promising Practices for Strengthening the Regional STEM Workforce Development Ecosystem. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/21894.
×
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Suggested Citation:"5 Findings and Recommendations." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2016. Promising Practices for Strengthening the Regional STEM Workforce Development Ecosystem. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/21894.
×
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Suggested Citation:"5 Findings and Recommendations." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2016. Promising Practices for Strengthening the Regional STEM Workforce Development Ecosystem. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/21894.
×
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Suggested Citation:"5 Findings and Recommendations." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2016. Promising Practices for Strengthening the Regional STEM Workforce Development Ecosystem. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/21894.
×
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Suggested Citation:"5 Findings and Recommendations." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2016. Promising Practices for Strengthening the Regional STEM Workforce Development Ecosystem. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/21894.
×
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Suggested Citation:"5 Findings and Recommendations." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2016. Promising Practices for Strengthening the Regional STEM Workforce Development Ecosystem. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/21894.
×
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Suggested Citation:"5 Findings and Recommendations." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2016. Promising Practices for Strengthening the Regional STEM Workforce Development Ecosystem. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/21894.
×
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Suggested Citation:"5 Findings and Recommendations." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2016. Promising Practices for Strengthening the Regional STEM Workforce Development Ecosystem. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/21894.
×
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×
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Suggested Citation:"5 Findings and Recommendations." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2016. Promising Practices for Strengthening the Regional STEM Workforce Development Ecosystem. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/21894.
×
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Suggested Citation:"5 Findings and Recommendations." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2016. Promising Practices for Strengthening the Regional STEM Workforce Development Ecosystem. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/21894.
×
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Suggested Citation:"5 Findings and Recommendations." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2016. Promising Practices for Strengthening the Regional STEM Workforce Development Ecosystem. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/21894.
×
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Suggested Citation:"5 Findings and Recommendations." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2016. Promising Practices for Strengthening the Regional STEM Workforce Development Ecosystem. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/21894.
×
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Suggested Citation:"5 Findings and Recommendations." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2016. Promising Practices for Strengthening the Regional STEM Workforce Development Ecosystem. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/21894.
×
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Suggested Citation:"5 Findings and Recommendations." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2016. Promising Practices for Strengthening the Regional STEM Workforce Development Ecosystem. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/21894.
×
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Suggested Citation:"5 Findings and Recommendations." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2016. Promising Practices for Strengthening the Regional STEM Workforce Development Ecosystem. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/21894.
×
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Suggested Citation:"5 Findings and Recommendations." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2016. Promising Practices for Strengthening the Regional STEM Workforce Development Ecosystem. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/21894.
×
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Suggested Citation:"5 Findings and Recommendations." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2016. Promising Practices for Strengthening the Regional STEM Workforce Development Ecosystem. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/21894.
×
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×
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×
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Next: Appendix A: Biographical Information of Committee and Staff »
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U.S. strength in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) disciplines has formed the basis of innovations, technologies, and industries that have spurred the nation’s economic growth throughout the last 150 years. Universities are essential to the creation and transfer of new knowledge that drives innovation. This knowledge moves out of the university and into broader society in several ways – through highly skilled graduates (i.e. human capital); academic publications; and the creation of new products, industries, and companies via the commercialization of scientific breakthroughs. Despite this, our understanding of how universities receive, interpret, and respond to industry signaling demands for STEM-trained workers is far from complete.

Promising Practices for Strengthening the Regional STEM Workforce Development Ecosystem reviews the extent to which universities and employers in five metropolitan communities (Phoenix, Arizona; Cleveland, Ohio; Montgomery, Alabama; Los Angeles, California; and Fargo, North Dakota) collaborate successfully to align curricula, labs, and other undergraduate educational experiences with current and prospective regional STEM workforce needs. This report focuses on how to create the kind of university-industry collaboration that promotes higher quality college and university course offerings, lab activities, applied learning experiences, work-based learning programs, and other activities that enable students to acquire knowledge, skills, and attributes they need to be successful in the STEM workforce. The recommendations and findings presented will be most relevant to educators, policy makers, and industry leaders.

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