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I can not believe that he is disputing colleges preparing people for the workplace. If college is not designed for giving people job skills, what is it for? I guess since the writer is a professor of sociology he must understand that his department would be one of the first cut by the marketable skills criterion.
"The theory of relativity occurred to me by intuition, and music is the driving force behind this intuition." Albert Einstein wrote those words nearly seventy years ago. One of the most important breakthroughs in science happened because he would take breaks and play the piano and violin when stuck on equations. We know now that there are algorithms in both music and mathematical equations. Einstein's music led him to discovery. Without music there would not have been any advancement, but these programs, like the department of sociology are among the first writers like Burr0109 seems to suggest we cut. Yes, a college degree should ideally help students get a job, especially when Republican budget cuts have driven tuition costs through the roof. Yet, that's not all a college degree must do. Like Einstein, we need creative and critical thinkers, who are trained in a broad range of disciplines, so that their minds remain supple in the face of the most vexing problems. Rote business training isn't going to cut it. If our colleges start churning out factory automatons we all lose.
Until about thirty years ago, companies hired liberal arts graduates and trained them in-house. Then, in the course of a couple of years, liberal arts graduates became "unemployable," where they never had been before. The professor is right. It's all about cost cutting gone wild.
Yep. One more example of hogmore corporations thinking they have no social responsibility or loyalty to the country that educates their workers, builds and maintains their infrastructure and defends their borders. And during the ongoing recession they have layed people off unnecessarily, pushed the remaining workers beyond their limits all while crying "Oh, its the recession, poor me, I can't afford to give up any of my massive profits while paying crap for wages". You traitors should be ashamed of yourselves.
College is to educate people, not churn out employees. If businesses want workers, let them institute apprentiships and on the job training. The mission of a college is to educate--turn out educated, well rounded citizens conversant in the arts, sciences, critical thinking etc. In so far as these skills make them good employees, great. But I suspect the real fear from the business sector is these skills create thinking employees, not drones.
Bute has this one right. Sometime in the mid-80s companies went from long-term to short-term (they changed the definition of long-term in tax law, I believe) and the robber-baron types began to come out of the woodwork. A college can be a mix of vocational and general studies, but to throw the emphasis on vocational invites long-term disaster.
Who better to judge work-readiness skills, than the prospective employer? In my particular field I've seen dozens of newly-minted, newly-licensed "professionals" who haven't a clue about what the real world, and the real job, is like. They come on Day One with starry-eyed idealism and warped expectations, and all too many leave in a relatively few months totally soured on the experience that was nothing like what they expected. There is blame here. You cannot fault the student for learning what he/she is given to learn, and you cannot fault the employer for expecting that a professional licensed in the field in which he is employing the person, to have the person show up with at least some knowledge of the skills that he/she is licensed to execute. Our institutes of higher education are mass-producing persons, not just in my field but probably in many, who are just not educated to provide what the employer needs. Blame the schools.
Monte, you raise some interesting points. It would be helpful if you could write a followup on the longstanding fad that "everyone should go to college". This fad supported by government policy, escalating college costs, outsourcing of private sector jobs and zero cooperation between the GOP & DFL is leaving college students educated, deeply in debt and under/unemployed. Maybe things have changed but my intent when I went to college was to get educated AND gain marketable skills. I would have appreciated more guidance and cooperation between academia and the private sector in transitioning into the job market.
Companies want more bodies on the labor market. More bodies to compete for limited jobs means lower wages and cowed employees. Companies say that they lack qualified employees to keep immigration rates high. In an immigrant, they get an indentured servant for a few years while that person's visa is tied to a particular employer. Many/Most of the immigrants come from poorer countries and are willing to do anything and work any hours to stay in the US. Once they get a resident card, they're no longer tied to the company, but they're still more people competing for jobs. The essential for companies is not skills; it's bodies, bodies, bodies.
"I would have appreciated more guidance and cooperation between academia and the private sector in transitioning into the job market."
Oh, there's plenty of behind the scenes "cooperation" — but so far it's been business telling higher education what it wants and then doing nothing to pay for it.
Example, the tech field learned rather quickly that students graduating from technical and community colleges (where the notion is students learn applicable job skills without all the "fluff") where unequipped when it came to communications skills and interpersonal relationships. Now, technical colleges are requiring programmers, IT associates and software developers to take communications, analytical writing and other courses.
Students are taking on more debt to pay for these added courses, but wages in the IT fields have not increased with these added skills. Businesses want their cake and eat it to — it's high time they start contributing to the costs of having custom-trained personnel.
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