Journal of Aviation/Aerospace Education & Research





Key words

STEM graduates, employment skills, aerospace and defense industry


Educational programs prepare students theoretically for the workplace, but many programs are still lacking in the real-world skills that the workplace requires. This is especially evident in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) education where today’s graduates hold a fundamental role in advancing science, medicine, sustainability, national security, and the economy, yet the programs to prepare them are falling short of employer expectations. At present, there is a lack of information on the necessary skills for workplace success that is specific to Airline, Aerospace, Defense (A&D) and related Industries’ STEM graduates. This paper attempts to fill this gap by offering a model of the skills required of STEM graduates for successful integration into the A&D and related Industries’ workplace. The purpose of the case study is to explore the employer’s perspective on the job skills that influence the success of STEM college graduates. The case study method was used that involved a purposeful sample strategy of hiring individuals for STEM based positions within the A&D and related Industries. The initial interviews support the job performance skills that have been identified in our research. The highest sought after skills are problem solving, team player, ability to gather data, and adaptability. The lowest sought after skill is negotiation. Two additional skills recommended by the interviewees will be added to future studies – time management and active listening skills. The conclusions reached emphasize the importance of real life applications during STEM classes and programs to better prepare future STEM employees for the workplace.

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