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PLTW Releases Research Around Skills Graduates Need

Report indicates that combination of technical and transportable skills key for labor market entry and advancement

INDIANAPOLIS – New research shows the secret to entering the workforce, staying ahead of automation, and even earning a promotion: the mastery of transportable skills that span industries and roles throughout a career.

Project Lead The Way (PLTW), a national nonprofit organization that provides computer science, engineering, and biomedical science curriculum to millions of PreK-12 students, and Burning Glass Technologies (BGT), national labor market analytics firm, today issued a new study of workforce and labor market data to determine demand for transportable skills including problem solving, critical and creative thinking, collaboration, communication, and ethical reasoning and mindset. Their findings: today’s tumultuous labor market demands that students attain both often-discussed technical and lesser-emphasized transportable skills to succeed as professionals.

The report, titled, “The Power of Transportable Skills: Assessing the Demand and Value of the Skills of the Future,” reinforces the need for better tools to measure and understand the value of transportable skills among PreK-12 students so they can understand their own strengths and weaknesses. For example:

  • Transportable skills are the most requested skills in the entire market. The top four skills requested by employers are all transportable skills, and all five of those studied are among the top 0.2 percent of all skills tracked by Burning Glass.
  • Transportable skills protect workers from automation. Nearly three quarters (74 percent) of occupations at low risk of automation request transportable skills in a majority of openings, as compared to 48 percent of occupations at high risk of automation and 57 percent of occupations at moderate risk of automation.
  • Transportable skills are key to career entry and advancement.
    1. Three quarters (75 percent) of advanced job openings (10+ years of experience) require at least one transportable skill.
    2. 68 percent of openings for managerial jobs request at least one transportable skill, as compared to 49 percent of non-managerial openings.
  • Employers want workers who pair transportable and technical skills. Within STEM-related occupations, the share of jobs requesting these skills is considerably higher (68 percent) than in non-STEM careers (49 percent). Across specific roles, 91 percent of STEM occupations request transportable skills in a majority of openings, as compared to 55 percent of non-STEM occupations.

This research demonstrates the importance of providing students with insights about their transportable skills and abilities so they can hone and communicate them in the future.

“We developed this report because, too often, the conversation about what gets tested and taught in schools loses sight of the real purpose of an education: helping students learn the skills they’ll need to succeed in their career,” said PLTW President and Chief Executive Officer Dr. Vince Bertram. “It proves that every professional, from a C-suite executive to a newly-hired graduate, has a common set of skills they must continuously pursue in their careers today and in facing tomorrow’s challenges.”

This report underscores the need for effective tools to emphasize these skills’ importance in the classroom and hiring processes, including the first-of-its-kind PLTW End-of-Course (EoC) Assessment that measures both academic achievement and transportable skills, which more than 450,000 students nationwide are taking for the first time this school year.

By creating new resources like the EoC Assessment, PLTW is expanding upon its efforts to prepare every student for lifelong career success. For decades, the organization has been a leading provider of career learning opportunities for PreK-12 schools through pathways in computer science, engineering, and biomedical science, as well as professional development for teachers.

To learn more about PLTW’s new assessment, visit To review the full Transportable Skills Report, visit

About PLTW

Project Lead The Way (PLTW) is a nonprofit organization that provides a transformative learning experience for PreK-12 students and teachers across the U.S. PLTW empowers students to develop in-demand, transportable knowledge and skills through pathways in computer science, engineering, and biomedical science. PLTW’s teacher training and resources support teachers as they engage their students in real-world learning. Approximately 11,500 elementary, middle, and high schools in all 50 states and the District of Columbia offer PLTW programs. For more information on Project Lead The Way,



Media Contact:

Jennifer Erbacher
Senior Director of Communications