iStock_000000985253MediumsmallBy Daniele Dixon, Director of Product Development at NCCER The lack of linkage between what is taught in schools and what is needed on the job front is one of the main drivers for the skilled global workforce shortage. According to the McKinsey Global Institute, this shortage is estimated to reach a manpower shortfall of 85 million by 2020. The primary ingredients in developing a skills-based curriculum are the standards and learner outcomes that are verified by Subject Matter Experts. Regardless of region or country, one can argue that there are universal, core competencies in craft worker skill sets, such as the safe use of tools and equipment and safety awareness on the job site. If anything, securing improvement in occupational safety and health would be a major beneficial outcome for global, skills-based standards being set here in the US. In-country SMEs could still be consulted, to verify units of measurement and nominal dimensions, cultural appropriateness of the material and to validate the technical terms translated into their languages. Modalities of learning should be flexible, to correspond to the ways in which we learn: visual (video/simulations); kinesthetic (learning through performance); auditory (narration/lecture); verbal (discussion); and most importantly in construction, contextual and experiential. We can work to constrain the English in the global curriculum so that it is more concise, free of idiomatic expressions and unnecessary qualifiers, making the English easier for speakers of English as a second language to understand and easier for the English to be accurately translated as well. Is developing a global, construction skills-based curriculum possible? Yes. While it will not solely bridge the gap between what education delivers and what the global construction industry demands, it can set the bar for what makes our global construction workforce both mobile and employable.

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NCCER develops standardized construction and maintenance curricula and assessments with portable credentials. These credentials are tracked through NCCER’s National Registry which allows organizations and companies to track the qualifications of their craft professionals and/or check the qualifications of possible new hires. The National Registry also assists craft professionals by maintaining their records in a secure database.