How making a network visualization illuminated a looming threat to Colorado
The state of Colorado is currently experiencing a severe skills shortage across many aspects of advanced manufacturing. This shortage poses a grave obstacle to the continuing growth of manufacturing; a labor and skills bottleneck could lead to decreased economical output and growth of the economy.
As a first step to addressing the skills shortage, educators in Colorado pinpointed exactly the critical skills and classified them into several subfields of manufacturing, such as engineering and R&D, production and assembly, and welding, etc.
The data was organized in a spreadsheet across thousands of rows and columns. In just a spreadsheet, it was difficult to glean insights from the data. In order to gain a better sense of the data, researchers used the Rhumbl mapping tool to create an interactive visualization for stakeholders.
The visualization revealed several fascinating insights:
There is a group of cross-cutting skills that critically underpinned all subfields of manufacturing.
Some of the most critical skills were in STEM and management areas.
Virtually all jobs required critical skills that are both cross-cutting and specific to the subfield.
If you would like to make your own skills map, we provide a template for concept mapping that you can download.
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