The National Association of College and Employers (NACE), an organization which links college career placement offices with employers, recently surveyed a sampling of hiring managers asking them to rank which skills they prioritize when hiring entry-level 21st century talent. Despite all the emphasis that academia places on hard skills, topping the list were soft skills such as basic teamwork, problem solving, the ability to prioritize and plan, and the ability to communicate effectively with others inside and outside of the organization.
The “skills wish list” of our local employers is synonymous with these results. In 2014, your chamber organized a “Tapping into Talent Summit” which surveyed the approximately 60 manufacturers that were represented. Overwhelmingly, soft skills topped their wish list, in addition to industry specific technical skills. This feedback served as a catalyst in the development and launching of the highly successful Catawba Valley Furniture Academy and the Manufacturing Academy at Catawba Valley Community College.