The workplace

How Schools and Employers Can Partner for a better workforce

Close the skills gap through innovative collaboration! Partner with 1Mentor to leverage technology, enhance career services, expand internships, and create upskilling opportunities. Transform education to meet the demands of a dynamic job market and empower students for success.

May 15, 2023

At universities, we aren't just teaching our students. We're preparing them for successful and rewarding careers. But how can we do this consistently when technological advancements and rapid innovation are disrupting industries? 

Currently, industry and academia don’t collaborate well enough to close the skill gap. To give our students the best chance of success in a dynamic job market, we must partner with each other to close this gap. We’re sharing the inside scoop on some clever collaboration methods that some of our partners and other universities have seen success with. 

Two middle-aged advisors high-fiving in a bright working office

Employers and schools can take advantage of these opportunities to give students the edge to stand out in the job market. When we think outside the box, we can all help students gain the necessary skills they need to excel while also improving outcomes for future generations of workers.


Understanding the skill gap

The fast growth of technology has created a skill gap in the global labor markets. The skills demanded by the market are very valuable, specific, and constantly evolving. While Canadian institutions are equipping students with the general skills and knowledge they need, it is not enough in the long-term. 

It's time to face the fact that recent graduates don't have the required work experience, which means their post-secondary skill set is crucial for their job applications. This has led to many students feeling a disconnection between what they learn and what they want to do in the workforce. 

In order to keep progressing in the global labor market, institutions in every country must invest in fostering a culture that encourages students to develop skills that are beneficial to the workforce.

Understanding a challenging workforce

In Canada, the unemployment rate was 7.5% in 2021, but students with university degrees are less likely to be unemployed than someone with a high school education level. Is that enough for our learners? Research shows graduates with additional technical skills can earn around $7,000 more and double the job opportunities compared to those with skill gaps. This means the priority in the global labor markets will be skills, and future employees will have to apply critical thinking and constant digital updating.

Man in front of desktop computer

Closer collaboration between industry and academia is needed to close the ever-growing skills gap. The current solutions are too slow and inflexible. Our research shows a lack of market information and accountability when collaborating on research projects. It can take five years to find researchers, gather data, and analyze it. 

But what makes this approach really unsustainable, is how long it takes to implement the findings and restart the research process again — because so much time has passed since it even started.

So what can improved collaboration methods result in?

Schools and employers can partner to…

  1. Collaboratively build effective career services at the institution.

Colleges and universities can leverage technology to collaborate closely with employers to expand the career services and information available to students. This can facilitate and identify relevant industry and business connections, so actionable strategies can be set to widen industry partnerships. Additionally, schools and employers can exchange insights on employers' requirements for hundreds of careers.

  1. Expand available internships and co-ops.

Co-ops and internships increase the chances of employment after graduation, as students earn relevant work experience for their professional future. According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers survey, 56% of employers prefer candidates with experience in either a co-op or an internship. While in these programs, students discover the in-demand skills to transition from school to the workplace and cover industry demands. 

Many institutions could fall behind other universities or colleges in providing crucial work experiences. Kettering University, however, soars ahead, giving students work placements from their first year through paid on-the-job experiences, which account for half of their education. With over 400 employer partners, students earn, on average, over $814,000 more than any other school in Michigan.


  1. Create upskilling opportunities like non-degree badges, programs, or credentials.

Providing alternative credentials, such as certificates and micro-credentials is a great way to close the skill gap by offering virtually limitless credentialing classes to build new skills. With virtual learning becoming more important, universities like Arizona State University have increased the number of badges and certificates to help individuals enhance their careers.

People in an office working on computers

       4. Work with 1Mentor to make accomplishing all of the above easier with the help of technology.

Our platform provides an interactive tool for staff and students to create a personalized career plan with upskilling opportunities. Career advisors can get real-time insights to help students with upskilling, work placement, or curricula updating. Faculty can suggest online courses based on the student's major or career interest. 

Purdue University has partnered with 1Mentor to enhance their curricular and co-curricular offerings to support skill development. They did a skills gap analysis and implemented a series of skill-based micro-credential certifications on engineering skills and prototyping. These certificates offer students the technical experience that we’ve proved is important.

Infographic reflecting the impact that 1Mentor had on its students about understanding of skills employers look for. Only 32% of students rate their understanding above seven out of ten. 90% of students rate their understanding above seven out of ten.

The skill gap is a problem, and upskilling through technology is the solution. 

Working with 1Mentor makes the process easier by helping you analyze the demand for skills, track learner progress across curricula, and adapt to help students succeed. By taking advantage of these technology opportunities and tools, students can enhance their immersion in the world of work, advance their careers, and close their skill gap.