Beyond the Skills Gap

Beyond the Skills Gap Preparing College Students for Life and Work

Matthew T. Hora with Ross J. Benbow and Amanda K. Oleson
cloth, 272 Pages
Pub. Date: November 2016
ISBN-13: 978-1-61250-988-4
Price: $62.00

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paper, 272 Pages
Pub. Date: November 2016
ISBN-13: 978-1-61250-987-7
Price: $31.00

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Pub. Date: November 2016
ISBN-13: 978-1-61250-989-1

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2018 Frederic W. Ness Book Award, AAC&U

How can educators ensure that young people who attain a postsecondary credential are adequately prepared for the future? Matthew T. Hora and his colleagues explain that the answer is not simply that students need more specialized technical training to meet narrowly defined employment opportunities. Beyond the Skills Gap challenges this conception of the “skills gap,” highlighting instead the value of broader twenty-first-century skills in postsecondary education. They advocate for a system in which employers share responsibility along with the education sector to serve the collective needs of the economy, society, and students.


So few commentators on the so-called ‘skills gap’ give serious thought to the purposes of higher education, or to the teaching and learning environments needed for today's students. The book goes beyond ideology to offer a deeper understanding of the challenges that face higher education institutions and faculty. — Michael Bastedo, professor and director, Center for the Study of Higher and Postsecondary Education, University of Michigan

Beyond the Skills Gap cuts through the agendas and talks to the people on the front lines to find out how best to provide the skills that both individuals and employers need. An important guide for policy makers and practitioners. — Peter Cappelli, George W. Taylor Professor of Management and director, Center for Human Resources, The Wharton School, and professor of education, University of Pennsylvania

Hora delivers a breath of fresh air to the conversation about skills gaps. Focusing on Wisconsin, this research demonstrates the need to revisit how the framing of higher education, as well as teaching and learning, influence educational attainment and workforce development goals. — Valerie Lundy-Wagner, associate research director, Jobs for the Future, and affiliate researcher, Center for Analysis of Postsecondary Education and Employment

The book successfully contributes new and productive information to ongoing debates surrounding the value and purpose of higher education. As such, it is a useful resource for researchers, faculty, policy makers, and employers interested in improving teaching, workplace training, and higher education policy. — Gregory C. Wolniak & Kimberly Maes, Teachers College Record

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About the Authors

Matthew T. Hora is an assistant professor in adult teaching and learning in the Department of Liberal Arts and Applied Studies at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, and a research scientist at the Wisconsin Center for Education Research. Ross J. Benbow is an associate researcher with the Wisconsin Center for Education Research at University of Wisconsin–Madison. Amanda K. Oleson is an education scholar particularly interested in research and policies related to PK–20/workforce pathways. 

Table of Contents


Author Interview on Wisconsin Public Television

Blog Post: "Work Ethic and the Skills Gap" 

E-book available through online booksellers

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