Education Next – Brian A. Jacob
“Career and technical education (CTE) has traditionally played an important role in U.S. secondary schools. The first federal law providing funding for vocational education was passed in 1917, even before education was compulsory in every state.  CTE encompasses a wide range of activities intended to simultaneously provide students with skills demanded in the labor market while preparing them for post-secondary degrees in technical fields. Activities include not only specific career-oriented classes, but also internships, apprenticeships and in-school programs designed to foster work readiness.”(more)
USA Today – Courtney Connley
“Students looking to bring home the best pay throughout their careers may want to consider careers in law, medicine or engineering. According to a report from job search platform Glassdoor, some of the best-compensated jobs in the U.S. are concentrated in those fields. To compile its list of highest-paying jobs in America, Glassdoor examined the job titles that received at least 100 salary reports over the past year and applied a statistical algorithm to estimate the annual base pay for each. C-suite level jobs were excluded from the list.”(more)
Forbes – Alice Albright
“For much of the last decade, global leaders in business, government and the non-profit world have been sounding a loud alarm about a mounting youth employment crisis. With good reason. According to the International Labour Organization (ILO), there are about 71 million unemployed 15-to-24-year-olds around the globe, many of them facing long-term unemployment. This is close to an historic peak of 13%.”(more)
Ed Surge – Michelle R. Weise
“To address the disconnect between higher education and the workforce, several colleges are experimenting with microcredentials, certificates, clusters of competencies, and even blockchain to communicate easily their students’ mastery of knowledge, skills, and abilities to employers. Some may scorn this trend as unnecessarily catering to a skills-obsessed world. Teaching up-to-the-minute skills appears to run counter to the concept of teaching students how to learn for a lifetime. Say what you will: These schools are recognizing that learning and work are becoming inseparable and developing applied curricula for our rapidly-evolving knowledge economy.”(more)
News Herald – Juliann Talkington
In a few weeks tens of thousands of young Americans will leave home and begin the “college experience”. As they descend on campuses across the country, they will be greeted by impressive buildings, acclaimed alumni, elaborate social functions, and luxury hotel-like accommodations. In addition to getting used to their new “homes”, these newly minted adults will be asked to select majors that prepare them for post college employment.
Interestingly, the university structure and incentives may not always be aligned with what is best for students.
Universities are broken into departments. Each department is responsible for running a profitable business or demonstrating that there is enough demand for its offerings that it would be foolish for the university to close the department. Departments like engineering generally have large research budgets, so they are less concerned about student enrollment than departments like the humanities and social sciences that have fewer research dollars.
As might be expected, the departments with fewest research dollars generally work hardest to convince students to select majors within their purview. Until 15-20 years ago, this model worked well, because it was possible to obtain high quality employment with a wide variety of university degrees.
Technology has improved access to information so much that many jobs related to compiling, organizing, and disseminating information have already been or are being eliminated. Careers that have been hardest hit are law, social sciences, and the humanities.
Since there are fewer job opportunities for people with these degrees, many college graduates find it difficult to procure jobs that pay a premium over what was available to them before they attended college.
This shift creates a dilemma for the parents of a child who did not develop a proclivity for math in high school. Does the parent have the resources to send the child to college so he/she can graduate without debt and go on to a job that he/she most likely could have obtained without attending college? Is it better to consider a high paying trade like plumbing or electricity, rather than expending money on college? Or is it wiser to encourage the child to go to a community college and learn math, so he/she has the skills to obtain a college degree with higher earning potential?
It is a tough decision, but is something that should be discussed before a family blindly spends large sums of money on a college education that does little to improve a child’s long term earning potential.
USA Today – Kellie Bancalari
“Until college graduation, students spend their whole lives preparing for one thing: a job. Fortunately, unemployment among college graduates has been on the decline in the last decade, but many graduates still struggle to find well-paying jobs to start their new lives in the workforce.”(more)