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  • Andrei Ganci

    Great article.

    I think there are several factors contributing to this widening gap between employer expectations and student skills. Although academia has it's (many) flaws, I think in this case the problem is more in the companies.

    Recruiting budgets are low, and they are managed so they maximize the short term impact: bringing good enough people as fast as it's needed.

    There are (sadly very few) companies that see this recruiting and employer branding activity from a much more holistic perspective. These companies are willing to invest in the future, creating meaningful internship programs, collaborating actively with schools, having interaction with the students in the most varied ways.

    Investing in this I believe creates a very clear image of the company in the mind of students, they understand what to expect while working in that company and what skills to build upon to be a great candidate for a job.

    Given that more companies would do this, students will have a better picture of what's expected of them, would figure out what would they like to do in their future career, get intrinsic motivation to learn more, experiment and improve and actively prepare themselves for employment.

    If you associate this intrinsic motivation in students who have figured out what they want and know what they need to get there, with a flexible, project based approach to education... the world would be a better place.

  • Ben Goldhirsh

    i think that point regarding success coming to "those who take control" is so important. what are the educational approaches that effect people's perspective on their potential and on their ability to aggressively pursue it? and what are the social support mechanisms that can help provide people the ability to pursue, and fail, and learn, and pursue, and so on and so on?

    • Liz Dwyer

      This is why I really believe our system has to focus more on project-based learning/service learning and infuse more "20 percent time" into the school experience--take away the fear for failure and give kids the freedom to experiment and drive their learning and they'll develop the ability to take control. They'll stop being passive learners that have to endure the education system. Also, there's a lot of conversation now about how to instill more drive, grit, and perseverance into education. All those help, too.

  • fionataylor

    I have many thoughts on this topic. First, we obviously need to invest in education, and kids graduating with high school degrees need to have achieved a certain skill level, which does not seem to be the case. Second, I think we need two separate tracks for associate degrees--one for those who are using it to go to a four-year university and one for those who plan to work after they get their AA. (I think they are two very separate tracks.) Third, we need apprenticeship programs instead of the rip-off "for profit" trade schools. Fourth, the rifts in our system are displayed when someone asks if they can get a job with an English degree (or any degree). OF COURSE you can. What this question says to me is that college costs have become way too high, and people are looking at college degrees the way people used to look at vocational schools. Yes, you go to college to become employed, but more importantly, you go to school to learn to think critically so you will be valuable to future employers. As someone "older" who works in technology, you are always going to need to learn new skills. I work on things that didn't exist when I was in college. If you know how to THINK, you will always be able to pick up those other skills.

  • ralfy

    A college or university degree should not be used as a requirement for most work, especially those that do not require formal research or board examinations. Instead, create vocational, technical, or specialized schools that provide education and training of varying lengths followed by a certificate or diploma. These schools can work closely with employers or industry associations, and what is learned may be credited for college or university if necessary.

  • Ploughshares Fund

    Instead of spending money on cold-war policies, isn't it about time to re-invest in our future, ie. education?!

    • Liz Dwyer

      Absolutely agree that we need to have some serious investment in education. If you had the ear of every governor, what would you tell them to do because nearly every state says they're broke and they simply don't have the money to fund state higher education systems.

  • Angela Cross

    Education is about more than getting a job... so much more! Trade schools exist for a reason - at least that's my opinion on the matter.

    As for a skills gap ... I think there is a gap between what an educated and independent mind seeks and what a traditional company model provides.

    I love the idea in this article about having more statistics to serve the graduates of a University to understand what the job market looks like.

    I hope my frustrations aren't showing too loudly - it's just that too many people think that Education is to serve Employers or the Institution providing education. It's the students who work to earn the degree, create the community, give the school it's name and pay to be there for god sakes. Create the highest quality minds with the most original and innovative ideas and pay them as interns or entry level employees to learn skills specific to your business.

    In short: Student's don't need jobs - they need real opportunities.