Blogs  |  9.13.2016

Why We Continue to Emphasize 21st Century Skills

Challenger Center

A recent article in the Wall Street Journal talked about the high demand for individuals with strong 21st century skills like communication, teamwork and critical thinking.

“Employers are increasingly looking for workers with strong soft skills—those traits that don’t show up in a job posting but are essential for succeeding in the workplace, like working well with others and taking initiative. But many employers say it has gotten harder to find those applicants as the labor market tightens.”

In our opinion, the term “soft skills” downplays and perhaps even diminishes the importance of these talents, but the ideology is the important part. We have heard from our partners and industry leaders that these are skills that bubble to the top of the “must have” list when it comes to recruiting a qualified candidate. This is exactly why our education programs not only focus on the importance of science, technology, engineering and math, but also place heavy emphasis on 21st century skills. Our expanding suite of STEM programs are exciting and fun and bring to life what the students are learning about in the classroom. But the students also realize that they will not have a successful mission without teamwork and clear communication. They have to work together to problem solve and find solutions. The skills students work on during our missions are the same skills they need to master to become productive members of society.

We recently heard from one of our Challenger Center alumni who is now a professional in the STEM industry. She talked about the direct correlation between her mission experience and the working world.

“[The experience] was great preparation for group work in school and project work at my job now.”

We know the importance of equipping students with tools that will help them in the next phase of their lives and we take this responsibility seriously. We are proud to be doing our part to help prepare today’s students to become future leaders and innovators.