Exposure to diverse career paths can help fill labor market ‘skills gap’

MU research study shows that an aptitude test can help steer women, underrepresented groups toward high-demand STEM careers.

March 4, 2021


Brian Consiglio: For high-demand careers in science, technology, engineering and math, also known as stem, the united states labor market is currently facing a ‘skills gap.’ meaning, there is currently a lack of individuals with the skills that employers are looking for when recruiting potential employees.

In an effort to fill the ‘skills gap’ and encourage more underrepresented groups to consider careers in stem, mu professor Patrick Rottinghaus distributed a different type of career aptitude test to more than 7,000 high school students across 14 states.

Rottinghaus: “When you look at rapidly growing employment sectors like manufacturing, computer technology, health care and construction, there is a pipeline concern, as we need more young people equipped with the skills to enter these fields.”

Consiglio: While most career exploration surveys focus mainly on students’ interests, the aptitude test Rottinghaus distributed also inquired about the students’ strengths and skills, which enabled them to explore more potential careers than they had originally considered. This led many students to begin thinking about high-demand stem careers.

Rottinghaus: “These results can stimulate further reflection and expand self-awareness that can guide a person to be more intentional in their exploration of a broader array of opportunities. Aptitude tests also help students identify classes they can take now or in college that will strengthen their skillset and potentially open up doors for their future.”

Consiglio: I’m Brian Consiglio, with a Spotlight on Mizzou.

Learn more about the research here

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