Community Colleges & Workforce Readiness

Disconnect Between What Students Prefer to Study & Where Jobs Are in Workforce

I think the nexus of the conundrum facing higher education  institutions for years to come is reflected in the post header. A new survey, Career Satisfaction,, of 22,000 undergrads by the career support firm, Sokanu finds that “…jobs that are among the most in-demand and high-paying among employers are among the least popular among college students, and degrees with the lowest levels of earning potential are among the programs,  attracting the greatest number of students.”  This may be a “dog eats child’s []

Is College the Wrong Place to Prepare for Work?

I’m thinking about this question as the Chronicle of Higher Education writes about a piece reviewed in the NY Times: One-third of  new programs [created at four year institutions] in the last decade were added in just two broad fields: health professions (where credential inflation is rampant) and military technologies/applied sciences (probably a reaction to the September 11th attacks). The 1990s saw similar growth in the number of majors. Indeed, nearly four in 10 majors in the Education Department data []

The Cost of Working Your Way Through College

This lengthy NY Times article focuses a spotlight on the very difficult issue of how many undergraduates are forced to work long hours to either minimize their post-graduation debt burden and also meet their annual tuition and related expenses: The piece highlights a student working to pay the $80,000 it costs to attend Appalachian State University in Boone, N.C.  Even at this rural institution, the rise in tuition for residents forces difficult choices for those who do not come from well-off []

Alternative Pathways to Employment

I think I’m really seeing the news more and more through the eyes of Thomas Friedman of the NYT. A recent Chronicle of Higher Education essay titled, “Apprenticeships Make a Comeback in the United States” led me to several other stories that day in the CHE.  And then I saw this piece in the Huffington Post about an Arizona community college adapting/adopting the apprenticeship model…The Arizona Tooling and Machining Association is collaborating with Maricopa Community Colleges system.  The trade group and the colleges []

Catching Up to Jobs Headlines

A lot of news continues to focus on the linkage between skill development and employability.  I’ll have more to say about this next month when I return from a State Department expert speaker program in Harare, Zimbabwe. I will be conducting workshops for university representatives on developing career development services for undergraduates.  Such student affairs roles do not exist on campuses in Zimbabwe. Consider these two in the Chronicle of Higher Ed:  “U.S. Will Make Broader Global Skills for College Students a []

Headlines Tell All-What’s a Job Got to Do With It?

” Get Rich U” in the April 20 New Yorker; “Questioning College” – a letter in response to New Yorker piece by VP, Student Affairs of John Tyler Community College; “Vocation of Exploration? Pondering the Purpose of College, ” NYT, 6-5-12; ” Jobs Few, Grads Flock to Unpaid Internships,” NYT, 6-6-12; “The Human Disaster of Unemployment,” NYT, 6-13-12; and finally, “A Generation Hobbled by College Debt,” NYT, 6-5-12 [this article resulted in a major embarrassment for the Time when it was pointed []

Role of Community Colleges & Global Workforce Development

IIE hosted a recent  Summit on the Occasion of the G8, entitled “International Education: A Global Economic Engine” which brought  together more than 30 high level delegates from 15 countries and the EU in Washington, DC on May 2 and 3, to engage in a hands-on discussion of national priorities and educational cooperation among nations, with the goal of making international education a pillar of binational and multilateral engagement. Global mobility in higher education – the exchange of students and scholars – []

Career “Readiness” & Workforce Development

I’m very interested in efforts to link career training with community-based organizations, industry and community colleges.  I believe the Obama administration is making an important contribution in its focus on community colleges for this reason.  These two stories describe creative approaches to closing the skills gap for low income and minority communities in PA and MN: In PA, the Highmark company is providing $2 million in funding to 25 organizations across the state for career development and job training through the Highmark Local []