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  • Translator Tool Would Help Students, Employers Communicate Liberal Arts Skills

    August 03, 2016 | By NACE Staff

    Best Practices
    A liberal arts major tells two recruiters how her skills relate to the open position.

    How can liberal arts students leverage their degrees? That was one of three challenges addressed during the NACE 60th Anniversary Innovation Challenge at NACE16.

    A team composed of Rocky Campbell of Lewis & Clark College, Jennifer Neef of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Kathleen Brunet of UnitedHealth Group, Lorri Hrebicek of Maximus, and Linda Sloan of the University of St. Thomas – St. Paul Campus provided the winning submission for that challenge.

    “As professionals who sit on both sides of the talent pipeline, we know that the skills development of a liberal arts education are critical in today’s global work force,” Campbell says. “… We know that there’s a disconnect between our students’ ability to articulate the skills they have learned in a liberal arts environment, and the employers’ ability to determine and validate those same skills. We believe that the liberal arts have been lost in translation.”

    To overcome the challenges associated with articulating skills and experiences, the team developed a “translator,” a web-based tool that allows for two-way communication. Students and institutions are able to input information about the academic experience. The tool then “translates” this information into “world of work” skills.

    On the other end, employers can input the skills that are required to be successful in their position and the tool translates this into information about the academic experience that can be found on resumes that will allow them to determine if the talent they are seeking on a college campus has the skills needed to be successful on the job.

    The team reports that it is confident that its idea will be effective because a similar tool has already been successful with military-to-career translation.

    During NACE16 in Chicago, conference attendees joined 2015-16 NACE President Dawn Carter and members of the NACE Board of Directors in the NACE 60th Anniversary Innovation Challenge. Sponsored by Intuit, the challenge allowed teams to brainstorm, problem-solve, and establish best practices around three primary themes: STEAM, students with disabilities, and leveraging the liberal arts degree. The winning teams’ submissions are being covered in Spotlight. For the winning entry in the “students with disabilities” category, see Overcoming the Lack of Communication and Information About Disability Services.

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