Strada collaborates with students, policymakers, educators, and employers across the U.S. to strengthen the link between education and opportunity.
We prioritize policies, practices, and programs that help ensure postsecondary education provides equitable pathways to opportunity.
We advance our mission through research, grantmaking, social impact investments, public policy solutions, Strada-supported nonprofit organizations, and strategic initiatives.
Strada Institute for the Future of Work, in partnership with Emsi, introduces the concept of skills shapes, a real-time analysis of the labor market that looks at the unique skill demands associated with specific career fields, regions, and individuals. Skill shapes provide a concrete method any region can use to identify local talent gaps for any industry and calibrate learning pathways to fill them
State leaders — Skill shapes enable policymakers, workforce investment boards, and economic developers to understand skill gaps and surpluses in specific regions and allocate scarce workforce development funds to the greatest labor market needs and opportunities for targeted workforce training.
Employers — When employers understand the talent supply in their region, they can target recruitment efforts and engage in upskilling and reskilling their incumbent workforce, as well as better communicate their skills needs to workers, learners, and learning providers.
Learning Providers — As employers’ needs come into focus with the use of skill shapes, learning providers can align curriculum development to real-time workforce needs.
Learners — Understanding not only the kinds of jobs but also the specific skills that are in demand in a region, learners can identify the learning experiences they need to compete for better jobs.
The rapid pace of technological change in recent years has caused jobs to change and new skills to emerge. Educators have struggled to keep pace, as have employers, who have struggled to articulate the skills they need.
In “The New Geography of Skills,” Strada Institute for the Future of Work and labor market analytics firm Emsi, a Strada affiliate, examine a possible source of aid: Skill shapes, a real-time analysis of the labor market that looks at the unique skill demands associated with specific career fields, regions, and individuals. The Institute and Emsi examined skills shapes in several metropolitan areas and explored a number of notable trends.
Using case examples, this report explores how skill shapes in three career fields — manufacturing, digital marketing, and cybersecurity — vary in select regions (metropolitan statistical areas). The research found that every community has its own unique set of skill shapes that are influenced by forces impacting that market, especially the unique mix of employers and dominant industries. Professional profile data can identify a region’s available skills and, combined with a skill shapes model, identify the gaps where the demand for specific skills exceeds the talent supply. Understanding these gaps is essential to design and develop well-calibrated learning pathways to close them.
This analytical process provides a concrete means to put skill shapes into action, empowering state, city, and regional leaders with a means to identify local talent gaps and address them with precision through just-in-time training programs.
These supply-and-demand gap analyses can be performed for any region in any industry.
Authors and Contributors
Strada Institute advances our understanding of the changing nature of work, so that we can design and create the learning ecosystem of the future.
As a labor market analytics company, Emsi uses data from a large number of sources to connect people, education, and work.
A wide range of experiences prepare students for success beyond the completion of their college degree. The evidence for the value of interning on students' future careers is strong.
In an era of student enrollment declines, tight labor markets, rising college costs, and a growing lack of confidence in the value of a postsecondary education, community colleges and employers have ample reasons to partner together.
Partnerships between community colleges and employers have the opportunity to address local and regional economic needs through a range of tools, including supporting student success through resources and services, integrating work-based learning, and building career pathways.
The list of benefits associated with earning a college degree is extensive and oft-repeated. It includes higher average lifetime earnings, employment security, greater self-esteem, and better health, among many others.
Amid all of this disruption, the number of U.S. workers leaving or changing their jobs sharply increased. Known variously as the Great Resignation, Reshuffle, or Realignment, the trend has been cast in the cultural imagination as a collective desire on the part of the American workforce for more rewarding or meaningful work.
Over the past 80 years, our nation has made great strides in improving access to college, and then ensuring that many more students could complete a college degree.
Spring 2022 enrollment numbers from the National Student Clearinghouse reveal a fifth straight semester of enrollment declines, with more than 1 million fewer students enrolled compared to spring 2020
Higher education’s measurement of student success is in the midst of an evolution. For nearly five decades, success efforts focused on access, then two decades with completion as the horizon for success, and now the focus is extending to student outcomes beyond completion.
Applied connections between education and work are increasingly a part of undergraduate education in the United States.
Two centuries after the first historically Black colleges and universities were founded, the 101 accredited HBCUs in operation today continue to deliver on their legacy of expanding educational opportunity for Black students that leads to successful and fulfilling lives.
As a field, higher education has experienced a continuing evolution in how to measure success. For nearly five decades success efforts were focused on access, followed by the past decade and a half pursuing completion, and the field now has a growing focus on the value of a degree and student outcomes beyond completion.
Strada’s prior research on undergraduate perceptions of the value of their education demonstrates that students value their education most when they receive support to connect their education and career interests.
In the wake of historic pandemic-related enrollment declines, postsecondary institutions have responded by developing and expanding innovative approaches to engaging learners.
The baccalaureate degree remains the surest path to economic mobility, employment stability, and a host of associated social benefits.
Steep declines in undergraduate enrollment during 2020 and 2021 threaten to widen existing equity gaps in college completion and career opportunities.
Nondegree credentials have been growing rapidly for decades. During the COVID-19 economic crisis, interest in nondegree credentials and skills training options was especially high. Questions about their quality and value, however, remain.
The high school classes of 2020 and 2021 have endured massive disruption to their education.
From its onset in early 2020, the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has upended life across the world, leading to uncertainty around health, work, finances, education, and a host of other issues.
The pandemic has led to a national crisis of widespread disruption to both work and education for millions of adults in the U.S., especially those from historically marginalized groups.
We asked alumni nationwide who had borrowed money to go to school if their loans were worth it. Strada Education Network and Gallup surveyed a nationally representative sample of more than 6,000 student loan holders.
Our mission is to improve lives by forging clearer and more purposeful pathways between education and employment.
How Intermediaries Can Connect Education and Work in a Postpandemic World
How is COVID-19 affecting college students currently enrolled at American four-year institutions?