Offers suggestions for how states and community colleges can use real-time Labor Market Information to better train and connect individuals to the middle-skill STEM jobs that are poised to have growing importance in the United States economy.

The resource first describes the education gap that is leading to a shortage of qualified individuals for a growing number of middle-skill STEM jobs. It then defines “traditional” and real-time Labor Market Information (LMI) as ways to understand the type and number of STEM positions that will be available. It suggests that real-time LMI is useful for analyzing the STEM field since it “reveals new and emerging trends in occupational definitions,” “offers insights into the skills and certifications sought by regional employers,” “identifies early indications of market shifts,” and “tracks hiring demand” (p.6). The resource adds that “real-time labor market information…can play a powerful role in meeting the need for an alignment process for the modern economy—and especially for the middle-skill STEM careers that hold so much potential for the nation’s future. By providing a window into the dynamic needs of employers—the knowledge, skills, experience, credentials and other assets they seek while hiring—real-time labor market information (LMI) gives states and their community colleges the ability to keep up with labor shifts and better prepare their citizenry for exciting career opportunities and advancement” (p.2).

Overall, the “document is intended to highlight some of the specific challenges states face in providing leadership to close the skills gap and to offer recommendations for harnessing real-time LMI to develop middle-skill STEM pathways to success at community colleges” (p.2).

(Abstractor: Author and Website Staff)

Full publication title: Success in Real-Time: Using Real-Time Labor Market Information to Build Better Middle-Skill STEM Pathways

Major Findings & Recommendations

The resource provides five specific recommendations “for states to support the use of real-time LMI in developing middle-skill STEM pathways that lead to robust STEM careers” with details about how to implement them (p.7). The recommendations are as follows: • “Implement real-time LMI as a long-term change management strategy—not a one-time tool • Make real-time LMI available and usable by community colleges and other stakeholders • Strengthen state-level data systems to support real-time LMI • Support institutions’ use of LMI through technical assistance and professional development • Integrate real-time LMI into critical ongoing decision-making” (p.7). “Middle-skill STEM jobs have the potential to serve as a boon to state economic development efforts and an opportunity for our nation’s students—especially for the low-income students and students of color who disproportionately enroll at community colleges and are underrepresented in STEM fields. Harnessing this opportunity requires that states keep up with the fast pace of change in STEM fields, and real-time labor market information can be the bedrock of this strategy. By establishing a paradigm of alignment with employers’ needs, state policy can encourage successful completion of middle-skill STEM pathways—and, most importantly, career success and advancement to follow” (p.16). (Abstractor: Author and Website Staff)