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 New Priority;” and “Real-Time Jobs Data Show Community Colleges What Employers Need Now.”
Ok. So better than never as far as the first piece which discussed the new strategic plan of the Department of Education to improve – on a broad scale- “global competencies of all American students, to learn educational best practices from other countries, and to be more active in ‘educational diplomacy,’ or diplomatic engagement through education-related work…” there was no explanation of just what would change nationally or how such activities would be funded or of course, how a top-down initiative like this would pass muster at the state level. But I do love the language. Did not know that the new Ed department’s director of international affairs came from the World Bank [which could explain the linguistic finesse in the interview].
The second article details an innovative way that several community colleges are using “real-time” labor market data to develop new curricula offerings which are tied to the availability of jobs in a particular field. Of course such a linkage between economic conditions and academic training would be fought vigorously at four year institutions. But more and more states and the federal government are turning to our two year colleges to reduce unemployment in local communities. And why not? The overwhelming number of minority students in higher education are enrolled st community colleges and older adults are returning in large numbers to re-tool their skills in order to find jobs in alternative vocational fields.
Employers often complain in surveys that they would hire more except that they cannot find talent to match the openings they seek to fill…Well, here is an ideal way to put that excuse to rest.