For over 60 years,
policymakers have pushed training in STEM fields. But even after decades of
investments to increase STEM credentials and degrees, employers continue to say
workers don’t have the skills they need. Research and employer surveys suggest
that many of the missing degrees can be found in non-cognitive or soft skills:
things like the ability to communicate, solve problems, and empathize with others.
While they don’t show up on standardized tests, these soft skills are critical to
life in the workforce. Research shows that investments in
family formation, early childhood development, and job training programs
that integrate technical and soft skills are the keys to expanding economic
opportunity, especially for those from disadvantaged backgrounds. Time and again,
we’ve pushed stem training while not achieving the success we expected.
Prioritizing policies that support healthy families and encourage soft
skill development in childhood, adolescence, and among young adults, might
be just the solution we’re looking for. Where do you think soft skills come from,
and how do we get more of them? Let us know in your comments. Also, let us know
what other topics you’d like our scholars to cover in 60 seconds, and be
sure to LIKE and subscribe for more research and videos from AEI.