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Skills mapping works to ensure that all partners fully understand the academic, technical and professional skills students need to succeed in entry-level careers. The process is directly informed by actual job requirements, and is the linchpin for connecting competitive employment opportunities to rigorous classroom learning objectives.
Skills mapping begins with the Industry Partner but ultimately involves the efforts of both high school and college faculty. Industry Partners first identify technical skills and foundational workplace competencies required in key entry-level jobs. Then, they work with high school and college faculty to “map” the skills to the curriculum. The resulting Skills Map guides decisions about the associate degrees that students will earn, as well as the integration of high school and college coursework that will lead to those degrees. Ideally, the Skills Map will be a graphic representation of the necessary skills that comprise the career pathways for which students are being prepared. See Skills Map examples below.
Community College Partners, along with Industry Partners, should use this time to review and validate the requirements for the target associate degrees, assuring that they reflect current industry standards. These partners also should review prerequisites to assure that they are valid requirements for subsequent courses and not roadblocks to participation.
Because skills in STEM fields change rapidly, it’s important that employers review the Skills Map on an annual basis, as job requirements evolve. New or changed skills must be remapped to ensure that the high school, college and workplace courses are in line with evolving industry needs.