Employers Want To Know What Is In A Degree

By Jim Lanich, California Business Council

Legislators, employers, and parents are pushing colleges and universities to demonstrate whether their students can compete in the workforce before they exit. There are couple of reasons that colleges are beginning to use these exit exams. First, parents and students alike want to know that their money spent is a sound investment in their future. Second, there’s a dearth in the labor market for highly skilled and knowledgeable workers. A recent study by the American Institute of Research reported that fifty percent of graduates of four year colleges and seventy- five percent of graduates of two year colleges are below proficiency in literacy levels. These data are alarming. It tells us they don’t have the skills to perform real world tasks like comparing two different healthcare plans or analyzing two sides of an argument. Exit exams in college are catching on slowly due in large part to a existing culture at universities, especially exclusive universities, that is focused on nputs like GPA, SAT scores, resumes of incoming students rather than their outputs like graduating young adults prepared to be successful in the work force. There is an an opportunity here for the labor market to bridge the gap between higher education and the job market by starting the conversation with colleges and universities and articulating what career readiness looks like from their perspective. This will further another trend in education- alignment of the K-16 to workforce pipeline. Read More

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