21st Century Workforce Initiatives: Implications for Information Literacy Instruction in Academic Libraries


  • Laura L. Leavitt Michigan State University




The discussion that follows is designed to expose the reader to a selection of educational reform initiatives that fall under the “21st Century Workforce” umbrella. The aims of these initiatives are quite harmonious with the overarching goals of librarianship and the opportunities for librarians to become involved and to demonstrate leadership in this arena are plentiful. The author’s efforts to incorporate information literacy principles and to encourage critical thinking in a graduate level organizational behavior class – in light of these initiatives and in response to employer feedback – are also discussed. It is hoped that the following
information will inspire librarians to explore the initiatives further and to re-examine current information literacy and instruction efforts within this larger framework.


Bellanca, James and Brandt, Ron, eds. (2010). 21st Century Skills: Rethinking How Students Learn. Bloomington, IN: Solution Tree Press.

Casner-Lotto, J., Rosenblum, E. & Wright, M. (2009). The ill-prepared U.S. workforce, exploring the challenges of employer-provided workforce readiness training. New York: The Conference Board.

Conference Board. (2006). Are they really ready to work? Employers’ perspectives on the basic knowledge and applied skills of new entrants to the 21st century U.S. workforce. New York: The Conference Board.

Davies, A., Fidler, D., & Gorbis, M. (2011). Future Work Skills 2020. Institute for the Future for the University of Phoenix Research Institute.

A framework for 21st century learning, Partnership for 21st Century Skills. Retrieved October 7, 2011 from http://www.p21.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=254&Itemid=119

Jerald, Craig D. (2009). Defining a 21st century education. Alexandria, VA: The Center for Public Education. Retrieved October 7, 2011 from http://www.centerforpubliceducation.org/Learn-About/21st-Century/Defining-a-21st-Century-Education-Full-Report-PDF.pdf

Manpower Group. (2011). Talent Shortage Survey Results. Retrieved October 7, 2011 from http://us.manpower.com/us/en/multimedia/2011-Talent-Shortage-Survey.pdf.

Trilling, Bernie and Fadel, Charles, eds. (2009) 21st Century Skills: Learning for Life in Our Times, San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Wagner, Tony. (2008). The global achievement gap: why even our best schools don’t teach the new survival skills our children need – and what we can do about it. New York: Basic Books.

What are 21st –century skills? Assessment & Teaching of 21st Century Skills, Retrieved October 7, 2011 from http://atc21s.org/index.php/about/what-are-21st-century-skills/

United States Bureau of Labor Statistics. (2011) Table A-4, Employment status of the civilian population 25 years and over by educational attainment, Retrieved October 7, 2011 from http://www.bls.gov/news.release/empsit.t04.htm