Effort Addresses Readiness Gap in the Workplace
A newly installed display at Savannah State University’s (SSU) Asa H. Gordon Library shines a spotlight on the accomplishments of historical African-American figures with the aim to inspire students to expand their skills and reach for ever higher goals.
The exhibit is the latest development of the Super Skills Campaign, a 32-week effort during the 2023-24 academic year organized by SSU’s Center for Professional Excellence (CPE). Each week the campaign highlights one historical African-American figure and points to the skills mastered by each individual to achieve success, including leadership skills, perseverance, resilience, problem-solving skills and critical thinking, among others. A reflection is offered with each example to help students consider their development of the skill highlighted that week.
The campaign has featured figures such as SSU’s First President Richard R. Wright Sr., considered the architect of National Freedom Day; Mathew Henson, the first man to reach the North Pole; Fannie Lou Hamer, who rose to become one of the most important voices of the civil rights movement; and Benjamin Banneker, a self-educated mathematician, astronomer, writer and compiler of almanacs.
“It is our hope that by sharing this with students and the broader community, families will become more aware of the topic, discuss super skills around their dinner tables with their children, and link success with the implementation of these skills throughout their life,” said Dr. Nancy Linden, director of the CPE.
This effort by SSU aligns with a charge from the University System of Georgia in 2023 to address a gap in soft skills among its graduates. A 2022 survey by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) noted a “gap in readiness” for the workforce that goes beyond content knowledge and relates more to soft skills – interpersonal skills such as communication, teamwork, work ethic and analytical skills.
“The goal is to decrease the readiness gap in future students. This is a community effort and the CPE is excited to share these amazing journeys through an historical lens that students find compelling,” said Linden.