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Monday, March 25 , 2019, 5:58 am | Fair 46º


SBCC to Offer Courses to Improve ‘21st Century Workplace Skills’

Santa Barbara City College will launch the Career Skills Institute to address the growing gap between the skills employers need and want and the skills the current workforce has Thursday, Sept. 10, at 10 a.m. at the SBCC Wake Center Auditorium at 300 North Turnpike in Santa Barbara.

According to SBCC Dean of Educational Programs Melissa Moreno, there is a growing body of research showing that employers need a workforce skilled in business soft skills, also known as 21st-century skills, transferable skills or employability skills.

"Skills such as communication, team building, management, innovation, critical thinking, writing and conflict resolution are sorely missing in today’s workforce," she said.

The Partnership for 21st Century Skills, a leading national education advocacy group, argues that such skills (including thinking critically and making judgments, solving complex problems, creative and entrepreneurial thinking, communicating and collaborating) are indispensable toward achieving competitiveness in the global economy. 

At earlier SBCC meetings, local business employers concurred with these national research findings, citing that recent college graduates are in need of soft skills training.

The SBCC Career Skills Institute addresses the employers’ needs offering courses in the areas of business, design and technology.  

The noncredit courses are short (8 to 16 hours each), an ideal length of time for the working professional in need of upgrading skills and staying current in the marketplace.  

Offerings include such courses as difficult conversations, communication strategies in the workplace, building high performance teams, change is the new constant, the art of negotiating and collaborating and coaching skills. 

The innovative format for most courses is a flipped classroom concept, powered by lynda.com. Students pay a small fee to access a lynda.com playlist to view in advance and come to a tuition-free class to solve a real-world industry problem, practicing the skills learned in the lynda.com lectures. 

Students come away with a portfolio piece that demonstrates skills learned. All courses are grouped in noncredit certificates. Students earning noncredit certificates also earn a digital badge — an online representation of their certificate they can post on LinkedIn, Facebook or their own web page.  

The verifiable digital badge platform is hosted by Pearson VUE Acclaim. The digital badges were developed after feedback from a focus group, including SBCC and Cottage Health System, which was hosted by SynED, a non-profit organization focusing on the gap between what business employers need and what education can offer.  

The topic of alternative certifications in the form of “digital life skills badges,” was introduced at a SynED focus group, initiated by Assemblymember Das Williams, in October 2014.  

Since then, SynED has provided implementation and technical support to integrate Pearson applications to manage digital badges. 

“The College takes its role as a partner in this community very seriously,” said Dr. Moreno.  “This curriculum has been specifically developed with local business input to meet the needs of our local workforce.”

The Career Skills Institute courses begin Sept. 22. For more information please visit the Career Skills Institute website at http://www.sbcc.edu/csi.

— Joan Galvan represents SBCC.


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