How responsible are institutions better education to make sure that their graduates are job-ready? Thatrrrs the true question being asked by Joshua Wyner, the Executive Director of Aspen Institute College Excellence Program, in an article for that Huffington Post.
He takes for his departure point the statements made by both The president and current GOP frontrunner for that 2016 nomination Senator Marco Rubio that the it\’s the economic recovery that will be the key towards the reversal of the decline from the American middle class. And one method in which this economic recovery might be pushed forward is with college programs which do a better job of filling employment gaps in the country’s most forward-looking industries.
Research shows that there are about two million jobs in the usa today going begging because Americans don’t have the skills needed to fill those jobs. If domestic and multinational corporations are to fill those jobs within the U.S. instead of moving them overseas, a couple of things will need to be done.
There happen to be nascent efforts to fill that gap at the high school and college level. New York City’s successful P-TECH school, which had a mention throughout the President’s 2013 State from the Union address, and which teaches its students skills essential to begin an entry-level job at IBM upon gradation, is one move that’s promising success.
Yet most colleges still keep going their programs as if the realities of the job markets don’t exist. Few make the effort to liaise with industry representatives to find out what they expect using their potential employees.
Last year, a story on?NPR?provided a good example of the challenge. There are thousands of computer-related jobs within the high-tech Seattle area that are connecting unfilled even though qualified students are clamoring to get into computer science and computer engineering programs at the?University of Washington. How\’s this possible? Because as the University of Washington comes with an undergraduate program made to train and place students in this subject, that program is not expanded since 1999 although the number of high-tech jobs is growing. Good jobs and eligible students make for what may appear like a right diamond necklace, but there is log jam: Students can’t connect to the training that they must be prepared for those jobs.
What is preventing the program expansion at the University of Washington and elsewhere is, obviously, money. Funding for public universities continues to be shrinking on the state and also the federal levels, and schools often can’t afford to hire additional faculty and dedicate additional resources to satisfy student demand.
To fix the problem, Wyner calls on the federal government to find away out to financially reward schools that make an effort to create more graduates in shortage fields. However the schools should also be willing to create hard choices like \”realigning their very own resources\” from less job-oriented programs towards the ones for whose graduates the neighborhood businesses clamor.