Daily Archives: August 24, 2010

21st Century Library Skills Need to Support 21st Century Workforce Demands

According to a new survey conducted by the American Management Association (AMA), executives say they need a workforce fully equipped with skills beyond the basics of reading, writing and arithmetic in order to grow their businesses. Skills such as critical thinking, communication, collaboration, and creativity will become even more important to organizations in the future.

“Proficiency in reading, writing, and arithmetic has traditionally been the entry-level threshold to the job market, but the new workplace requires more from its employees. Employees need to think critically, solve problems, innovate, collaborate, and communicate more effectively—and at every level within the organization. According to the AMA 2010 Critical Skills Survey, many executives admit there is room for improvement among their employees in these skills and competencies.

In an effort to assess how “top of mind” these skills and competencies are, AMA—in conjunction with P21, a national organization that advocates for 21st-century readiness for every student—surveyed 2,115 managers and other executives in AMA member and customer companies about the importance of the four Cs to their organization today and in the future.

    The AMA 2010 Critical Skills Survey defined the skills as follows:
    • Critical thinking and problem solving—including the ability to make decisions, solve problems, and take action as appropriate;
    • Effective communication—the ability to synthesize and transmit your ideas both in written and oral formats;
    • Collaboration and team building—the ability to work effectively with others, including those from diverse groups and with opposing points of view;
    • Creativity and innovation—the ability to see what’s NOT there and make something happen.”


“Three out of four (75.7%) executives who responded to the AMA survey said that they believe these skills and competencies will become more important to their organizations in the next three to five years, particularly as the economy improves and organizations look to grow.

When asked why they believe these skills and competencies are taking on critical importance in the business environment, 91% rated the pace of change in business today as the leading cause, followed by global competitiveness (86.5%), the nature of how work is accomplished today (77.5%), and the way organizations are structured (66.3%).”

“According to the AMA survey results, 80% of executives believe that fusing the three Rs and four Cs would ensure that students are better prepared to enter the workforce. Proficiency in reading, writing and arithmetic is not sufficient if workers are unable to think critically, solve problems, collaborate, or communicate effectively.[Emphasis added.]

A democratic society based in free market economy must grow, adapt and change to meet the global competition in order to prosper. Your public, school and academic library should be helping this 21st Century effort to prepare our American workforce to face the challenges ahead.

Schools and academia are addressing the challenges for their students. Is your public library doing its part for its customers?

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