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Supporting Middle-Skills STEM Workforce Development: Analysis of Workplace Skills in Demand and Education Institutions' Curricular Offerings in the Oil and Gas Sector

RAND2019.02.11

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"Middle-skills" jobs require more education and training than that provided by a high school diploma but less education and training than a four-year college degree. Employers struggle to find workers with the needed combination of knowledge and skills to fill middle-skills jobs; this search for workers is particularly pertinent to the tri-state region of Pennsylvania, Ohio, and West Virginia, where the boom from new oil and natural gas technologies related to extraction has propelled the region economically. In this report, researchers surveyed instructional staff at five colleges with training partnerships with oil and gas industry companies in the tri-state region to examine whether these colleges' science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education programs emphasize the skills and knowledge areas that employers need. In addition, researchers examined which knowledge areas and skills might need more support by asking instructional staff about areas in which students had difficulty and if more resources (and if so, which ones) were needed.

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