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Higher education is a source of skill acquisition for many middle- and high-skilled jobs. But what specific skills do universities impart on students to prepare them for desirable careers? In this study, we analyze a large novel corpora of over one million syllabi from over eight hundred bachelors’ granting US educational institutions to connect material taught in higher education to the detailed work activities in the US economy as reported by the US Department of Labor. First, we show how differences in taught skills both within and between college majors correspond to earnings differences of recent graduates. Further, we use the co-occurrence of taught skills across all of academia to predict the skills that will be taught in a major moving forward. Our unified information system connecting workplace skills to the skills taught during higher education can improve the workforce development of high-skilled workers, inform educational programs of future trends, and enable employers to quantify the skills of potential workers.


This article was originally published in PLoS ONE, volume 18, issue 3, in 2023.

pone.0282323.s001.pdf (4719 kB)
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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.



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