Aug 16

How to Connect Students to Industries With High Demand

National unemployment rates reaching new lows in July 2016, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics data. While a stable job market benefits all professionals, college graduates with the education needed to fill roles that are in-demand have an advantage over peers in saturated fields.

Here’s a look at three industries that are facing a shortage of qualified employees, and how universities can prepare students to secure roles in them.

Hands-on healthcare professionals. Baby boomers make up the second largest percentage of the United States population behind millennials, according to the Pew Research Center. Now that they’re between the ages of 51 and 69, the healthcare industry is facing a significant supply and demand issue that’s expected to worsen in the future. For example, AMN Healthcare’s research indicates that because a high correlation of registered nurses are baby boomers, there won’t be enough RN’s to replace them when they retire. AMN also predicts there will be a shortage of family practice and internal medicine doctors, nurse practitioners and physician assistants, as demand for urgent care centers increase. A data analysis conducted by CareerBuilder also indicates that a need for occupational, speech and substance abuse therapists and home health care professionals will continue to increase through 2021.

How to Connect Students to Industry Need:

  • Educate students on opportunities that exist in the healthcare industry with which they may not be familiar, beyond doctor and nurse jobs.
  • Form relationships with local healthcare systems to identify training gaps that can be addressed in curriculum.
  • Provide hands-on training opportunities for healthcare students with local health systems as part of required coursework. The approach has proven successful for several Wisconsin colleges and five major health systems: Three out of four nursing students at Alverno College are graduating in 2016 with nursing jobs, according to the Milwaukee-Wisconsin Journal Sentinel.


IT experts. The world is increasingly reliant on mobile devices, the Internet, cloud-computing, online communications, e-commerce and apps. As a result, IT professionals including software and electrical engineers, data scientists, and information security analysts are in high demand nationwide, according to The Institute, driven in part because technology changes so quickly, along with consumer engagement with it. For example, CareerBuilder predicts that jobs related to online shopping will increase in demand by 32% between now and 2021.

How to Connect Students to Industry Need:

  • Design curriculum that instills understanding of the fundamental concepts behind technology, including algorithms and data structures.
  • Assign coursework that teaches students to master an object-oriented programming language, and learn additional languages “on the fly,” with little guidance. For example, Google expects its software engineer applicants to code fluently in C++ or Java, and to rapidly learn additional coding languages like Ruby and CSS.
  • Offer coursework in emerging technologies, like artificial intelligence.
  • Structure class projects to develop students’ ability collaborate, and explain complex concepts in “layman’s terms.” In addition to tech skills, Google requires its engineers to have a proven ability to work on a team with other programmers.
  • Provide students with resources that broaden their knowledge based on current industry best practices. For example, Google provides suggested resources its prospective engineers can use for practice, and requires engineers to have programming experience outside of the classroom.


Marketers who understand the online world. Demand for marketing consulting services is expected to increase 20% in the next five years, according to CareerBuilder. Yet, social media, online publishing, mobile devices, email and streaming television services have transformed the skills marketers need to succeed.

How to Connect Students to Industry Need:

  • Gartner predicts that chief marketing officers will spend more time working with technology than chief technology officers by 2017. Offer coursework that teaches marketing students basic programming languages like HTML, the importance of search engine and social media algorithms, and how to use customer relationship management tools.
  • Require marketing students to take course in statistics, analytics and sampling, all of which apply to marketing analytics, and campaign results.
  • Offer courses that teach students how to write for various forms of media, present content in a visually compelling way, publish it online, and measure the effectiveness of their content using web analytics like open and click through rates.

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