Role of Private Sector in Linking Education & Employability

Reporting on IFC conference on private education, “Making Global Connections,” University World News offers glimpse of growing efforts to bridge employer needs for talent with innovative private sector education initiatives.

The article states: Some “30% of employers globally say they do not find enough people for the jobs that they have,” Gassan Al-Kibsi, managing partner at McKinsey and Company in Saudi Arabia, told the IFC’s conference on private education held in Dubai from 6-8 March. Top-up courses for graduates, devised with industry in mind, can bridge the gap between academic courses and working life. Such courses are organised to supplement university degrees and are often provided by private or non-profit institutions. “Government institutions are often unable to understand employers’ needs,” Al-Kibsi said.

The International Finance Corporation (IFC) has built an investment portfolio of US$400 million involving 69 projects in 33 countries, many of them in higher education. “Like it or not, the private sector will increasingly be part of the solution in offering skills to young people all over the world,” said Guy Ellena, the IFC’s Istanbul-based regional director of manufacturing, agribusiness and services for Europe, the Middle East and North Africa. “We really believe there is a major role for the private sector to complement public education,” he told University World News.

To understand the changing role – and new funding priority – of the IFC with regard to private sector support in the education sector, go to

Engineers Have an Edge in Global Marketplace


This recent post to University World News caught my attention:  At the University of Rhode Island, their International Engineering Program [IEP] is  designed to fully integrate  international experience with their course of study.  “The IEP’s model, unchanged since its inception 25 years ago, is that of a five-year dual bachelor programme in which students complete a language major alongside the usual engineering curriculum requirements. In order to reinforce nascent language skills, students embark on synchronous study of and work in both disciplines in a country of their choice during the fourth year. The first six months of study at the partner university are followed by a paid internship at an affiliated company for the remainder of the year.”

List of My Publications


“Employer Perspectives on International Education,” in SAGE Handbook on International Higher Education, SAGE publications, 2012

AIFS Student Guide to Study Abroad and Career Development, American Institute for Foreign Study, Stamford, CT, 2011
Diversity in International Education: Hands-On Workshop Summary Report, American Institute for Foreign Study Foundation, 2010
Cooperating With a University in the United States: NAFSA’s Guide to Interuniversity Linkages, Editor, NAFSA: Association of International Educators, revised, 2007
Impact of Education Abroad on Career Development, Volumes I/II, American Institute for Foreign Study, Stamford, CT, 2005
The Role of Student Affairs and Services in Higher Education (contributing writer on career services) UNESCO, Paris, France, 2002
Study Abroad: A 21st Century Perspective: Volume II, The Changing Landscape, Editor, American Institute for Foreign Study Foundation, Stamford, CT, 2002
Study Abroad: A 21st Century Perspective, Editor, American Institute for Foreign Study Foundation, Stamford, CT, 2001
Service-Learning: A Movement’s Pioneers Reflect on Its Origins, Practice and Future, Jossey-Bass, 1999 [cited as a leading pioneer in this oral history project]
Cooperating With a University in the U.S.A.: NAFSA’s Guide to Interuniversity Linkages, NAFSA: Association of International Educators, with Thullen, Homer, and Carty, 1997
“Effective Support Services to International Students,” in Developing International Education Programs, Jossey Bass, New Directions for Community Colleges #70, 1990
“The Lisle Fellowship: A Case Study,” in Cross Cultural Learning, Jossey Bass, New Directions for Experiential Learning #11, 1981

“The Right Tool for the Job,” International Educator, NAFSA: Association of International Educators, summer, 2005
” Life Begins at Fifty: A Brief History of NAFSA and its Members,” International Educator, NAFSA: Association of International Educators, October/November, 1998
“How Do we Feel About Foreign Aid?”, International Educator, NAFSA: Association of International Educators, Winter, 1995
“Third World Focus, ” Quarterly column, Transitions Abroad: The Guide to Learning, Living, and Working Overseas, 1986 1992
“Third World Service Learning Programs,” American Institute for Foreign Study, Study Abroad Advisors Series #4, 1989
“Principles of Experiential Cross Cultural Learning,” Experiential Education,. National Society for Internships and Experiential Education, 1982
“Non Formal Education and Rural Development: An Historical Sketch and Selected Case Studies,” Journal of New Frontiers in Education, New Delhi, November, 1975

Book Reviews [in NAFSA International Educator]

“The Global Student Experience: An International and Comparative Perspective,” Kandidko & Weyers, ed., 2013

“Student Learning Abroad: what Our Students Are Learning, what They’re Not, and What We Can Do About It,” Vende Berg, Paige & Lou, 2013

“International Students and Global Mobility in Higher Education: National Trends and New Directions,” Bhandari & Blumenthal, 2012

“Integrating Study Abroad into the Curriculum,” Elizabeth Brewer and Kiran Cunningham, 2012

“The SAGE Handbook on Intercultural Competence,” Darla Deardorff, editor, 2011

“International India: A Turning Point in Educational Exchange with the U.S.,” Rajika Bhandari, editor, 2011
“The First-Time Effect: The Impact of Study Abroad on College Student Intellectual Development,” Joshua S. McKeown, 2010
“Intercultural Competence: Intercultural Communications Across Cultures,” 5th edition, Myron W. Lustig and Jolene Koester, 2009
“Working World: Careers in International Education, Exchange and Development,” Sherry L. Mueller & Mark Overmann, 2009
“A Handbook for Counseling International Students in the United States,” Hemla D. Singaravelu and Mark Pope, 2008
“Handbook for Hosting: The Academy for Educational Development Guide to Welcoming U.S. Students To Your Campus,” 2007
“Knowing and Doing: The Theory and Practice of Service-Learning,” Linda Chisholm, editor, 2006
“The First Resort of Kings,” Richard T. Arndt , 2006
“The Big Guide to Living and Working Overseas,” Jean-Marc Hachey, 4th edition, 2005
“Global Citizen: A Guide to Creating an International Life and Career for Students, Professionals, Retirees and Families,” Elizabeth Kruempelmann, 2002
“Beyond Borders: How International Developments are Changing Student Affairs Practice,” New Directions in Student Services, 2001
“The Expanding Role of State & Local Governments in U.S. Foreign Affairs,” Earl H. Fry, 1998
“Birth of a New World: An Open Moment for International Leadership,” Harlan Cleveland, 1993

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 Workforce Initiative.  The initiative was created to recognize organizations that demonstrate the proven ability to make an impact in diverse rural and urban neighborhoods where there may be minority populations, individuals with a disability, veterans or displaced workers seeking career opportunities and advancements.

In MN,  VISTA has built a partnership with the Women’s Fund and Presenting Yourself for first-generation college women to enable Central Lakes College to equip its students with the tools necessary to build successful futures.  Local AmeriCorps VISTAs are sponsored and supported by the Initiative Foundation, based in Little Falls, in partnership with the Corporation for National and Community Service which coordinates AmeriCorps VISTA, AmeriCorps NCCC (National Civilian Community Corps), AmeriCorps State and National and Senior Corps.

Book Review in NAFSA International Educator

Who Goes Where and Why? 

An Overview and Analysis of Global Educational Mobility

On the Practical Value of a College Education

Ipsos is a leading global market research company that published a study, How America Pays for College: Sallie Mae’s National Study of College Students and Parents – –  last August (only just learned of the report). Why am I commenting on this?  I’ve believed that since the onset of the recession, that families were holding very different conversations with their children about paying for college — and that this practical appraisal would trickle around to the “value-added” of such extra-curricular events as study abroad.  Wouldn’t leaving the country hurth their child’s chances of  finding a job after graduation?  Why not go for a paid summer internship – isn’t that more practical?

While the Ipsos study does cite increased numbers of families stretching their budgets to pay for college, they are, in fact, paying less for tuition thanks to increased financial aid opportunities.  But what interests me is the following quote from the summary:

This year’s survey shows an increase in the practical value of a college education to families. Ninety percent of students strongly agreed that college “is an investment in the future,” an increase from 84 percent in 2010. More than seven in 10 strongly agreed both that a college education is necessary for the student’s desired occupation and that college is required to earn more money, up from 64 and 61 percent, respectively, in 2010. Conversely, agreement that college is part of achieving the American dream declined for both parents and students, from a combined 51 percent in 2010 to 44 percent this year.

Will families believe that the chance to study abroad is of practical value to their child when he/she comes home in their junior year and is excited about going to London or Cairo? Can campus advisors provide the kind of narrative that students can carry home and present in a convincing way to their parents?

Study Abroad & Employment

Thanks to Nancy Ericksen, Assistant Director for Study Abroad, Trinity University for compiling this eclectic list of publications, blog posts and campus programs when recently polling NAFSA colleagues about resources on study abroad & employment [also see my article, “The Right Tool for the Job” in the 2005 NAFSA International Educator]:

My addition to Nancy’s list is the invaluable blog by David Comp at University of Chicago: “Education Abroad and its Value in the Job Market”

The Return of Investment on Study Abroad: – a creative visual “infographic” without sources for stats- but a great tool for discussion with students.

“Employers Attitudes Towards Study Abroad” from the *Frontiers : The Interdisciplinary Journal of Study Abroad” Volume
XIV, Fall 2007, Stevan Trooboff, Council for International Educational Exchange Michael Vande Berg, Council for International Educational Exchange Jack Rayman, The Pennsylvania State University.

Kevin Murphy of CEA has a recent blog:;
Brooke Roberts’ “Inside Study Abroad”

Michigan State:
“Unpacking Your Study Abroad Experience” by Linda Grossman at Michigan State:

Frontiers: The Interdisciplinary Journal of Study Abroad” Volume XVIII Fall 2009*.

“The Georgetown Consortium Project: Interventions for Student Learning
Abroad” authored by Michael Vande Berg, Council on International Educational Exchange,
Jeffrey Connor-Linton, Georgetown University, R. Michael Paige, University  of Minnesota Twin Cities

Other articles:

This is a selective list…Send your suggestions to me at

U.S. Employers Need to Become Pro-active in Assisting Workers Upgrade Skills

This interesting study reveals that no matter how well prepared employees believe they are as a result of being hired, they cannot count on their employer to do a good job of providing on-the-job skills training which would create conditions for promotion and advancement.

The majority (55 percent) of workers in the U.S. report they are under pressure to develop additional skills to be successful in their current and future jobs, but only 21 percent say they have acquired new skills through company-provided formal training during the past five years, according to a study released today by Accenture (NYSE: ACN).

 The Accenture Skills Gap Study, which surveyed 1,088 employed and unemployed U.S. workers, found that while more than half (52 percent) have added technology skills in the past five years, few have updated other in-demand skills such as problem solving (31 percent), analytical skills (26 percent) and managerial skills (21 percent).
“There is an escalating talent crisis and employers should not assume that workers have the resources or knowledge to acquire all the skills they will need, “said David Smith, managing director—Accenture Talent & Organization. “Our study shows that workers are prepared to improve and expand their skills, but they’re not receiving sufficient support to develop those skills. In addition to investing in training, employers will have to become more transparent about their talent requirements and more creative about leveraging the skills they already have within their organizations.”

QS 2011 Global Employer Survey: “How” They Value International Experience

I attended a fascinating and important session which discussed this incredibly large-scale survey of employers at recent AIEA conference in DC.  You can read the full findings at:  There is a useful brief overview of past research – incomplete but representative – on employer perspectives from the U.S. and Europe [principally ERASMUS].

With the response to the initial question, the QS Global Employer Survey has for the first time produced a global benchmark figure on how employers value an international study experience when recruiting graduates. The global weighted average of 60% affirmative is more positive than findings from most of this type of research that has been conducted in the past at a regional level on smaller sample sizes. As such the result can be taken as an encouraging sign for those around the world participating in and sponsoring international learning mobility. A majority of employers globally value an international study experience when recruiting.

What is so interesting in this survey is the data points comparing responses to the question, “Do you actively seek or attribute value to an international study experience when recruiting?”  I’m not aware of this question being addressed so directly in any other research report.  Nor has any previous research been conducted on such a vast global scale.  Findings are summarized by country, industry and in detail, by job title [this is very revealing as there is a significant difference between responses of CEOs & their own HR managers!].

Report’s closing observation –which I fully support:

Higher education institutions need to be attuned to the needs of the global recruitment market in order to prepare graduates for future workplace demands. As a driver of economic growth,universities and colleges play an important role in understanding global trends and providing teaching and learning opportunities that will support their students in developing the skills and knowledge they need to be future leaders.International education opportunities need to be responsive to global market demand.

I’d urge blog readers to follow the QS surveys –this is the second (there was one in 2010) – in coming years as they will begin to have sufficient data to analyze their data over time to track country/industry trends more carefully.

International Volunteer Service: Good Intentions Are Not Enough

This CHE Commentary is a useful summary of the challenges and obstacles of conceiving and implementing service-learning programs.  As someone involved in the creation of the first nonprofit organization sponsoring S-L programs, the Partnership for Service-Learning, circa 1980, the issues addressed here are not new.

I do like the linkage the authors make between campus internationalization policies and best practices with respect to providing opportunities for students to  “unpack”  their overseas experiences as articulated in this statement:

Students return to campus, where there is often a stark juxtaposition between their campus bubble and the culture they lived in and the conditions they experienced. We have heard from colleagues that higher education has yet to fully maximize this “post-experience” phase. How do we institutionalize this phase in our curricula and cocurricular offerings such that students can translate their experiences back to their lives on campus? They should be able to say what they learned about themselves and the world and how their learning will inform their choice of courses, majors, and careers. This learning, like all meaningful learning, takes time to develop.

To review the excellent research and analysis of experiential learning theory and practice of  The Partnership – now named The International Partnership for Service-Learning and Leadership – go to


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