The young students at colleges and universities will be joining the workforce in the near future . But is your future secure? Is your future workforce in the right hands? More importantly, is your future workforce being equipped with the necessary tools to combat the challenges of the 21st-century work environment? Unfortunately, the answer to all these questions is a resounding no.
Today’s students lack the essential skills and adroitness required for the workforce. Marie Glenn reported that some academics in the US warns that the quality of their domestic university brand may be slipping. Private sector respondents are particularly concerned, with 46% expressing worry that the US is lagging behind other countries in its ability to produce high quality professionals. In fact, only about 40% of all believe that current graduates are able to compete successfully in today’s global marketplace (8).
Yes, students do master academic core subjects, which are also useful. But the burning question is that they are missing some vital knowledge that is needed in order to be integrated into the office environment to thrive there successfully. This calls for an alteration in the procedure adopted by colleges and universities to educate this pool of young people who are going to decide future prospects. The educators should be connected to the phenomenon of what works and educate students according to the demands of the labor market because this will bring up students who are all well prepared for their professional lives, provide each student with greater and better opportunities of getting employed and familiarize students with technical training and skills that are immensely significant in the job market.
Gone are the days when your college degree would function as a strong indicator that you are going to succeed in an entry level job. Now, there are other practical factors that matter the most. By the time one reaches college he/she has specific jobs and clear career paths in his/her mind. He/She tends to select his/her core subjects according to his/her set goals but it is imperative to be kept in mind that theoretical knowledge is not enough to face the challenge of the job market where practical demonstration is the primary way to manifest your abilities as a worker. It is crystal clear that theories and concepts can maybe teach you the necessary skills needed to be adopted in the workplace but cannot compel you to acquire them. You can only learn them through practical experience. This experience is to be ensured by the college and universities through arranging vocational training programs, internships, workshops, etc.
Of course, all these activities would vary according to the needs of particular professions. Barlett claims that “companies are increasingly taking the stance that continuous skill upgrading and training is something individual workers need to pursue; it is no longer the company’s responsibility” (qtd. in Community College Missions In The Twenty- First Century 56). So, students can only rely on their colleges for such training programs that will not only give them a hand on experience of professional life but will also shape them as well prepared workers for the job market. Having said this there is a dire need for colleges and universities to incorporate methods of vocational training as part of their curriculum in order to make students excel at their jobs in the future.
Geoffrey James claimed that the Fiscal Times recently put it that nearly three quarters of hiring managers complain that millennials- even those with college degrees- aren’t prepared for the job market and lack an adequate work ethic. Occupational training places a resoultion to this dilemma by bringing the joys of learning other important skills such as work ethic, attitude, effective communication, team work, reliability, punctuality, customer service, high quality task completion, etc that adds to your personality and opens up the doors for more and more attractive job opportunities. These different expertise not only aid in the later years of professional life but also succor at a basic level.
For instance, many recruiters now delve more deeply into the candidate’s personality by asking a variety of atypical questions in preliminary job interviews in order to expose certain unique capabilities of the students. Geoffrey James stated that according to the Instructure study, 85 percent of managers are hiring based on attitude and work ethic and then hope to effectively train employees to develop other skills they need to excel in an entry level position. This strategy has certainly worked for Chipotle, where many store managers lack college degrees but were hired and promoted because they exhibited the right attitude. Adding to this, if proper competency is combined with a quality education it can do wonders in increasing your job prospects.
Last but not the least, preparing students for the workforce acquaints them with technical education that is of foremost importance in any job market. Technical education basically involves programs addressing the mechanical and practical aspects of a specific discipline. It includes a wide range of disciplines from computer programming and fashion designing to accounting and public administration. Colleges and universities should offer career coordinated technical training to students which will aid them in riding the waves of innovation after entering their practical lives. “As technology has become pervasive in the classroom and the workplace, solid technology skills are essential for every student. Teaching digital literacy skills ultimately falls upon educators. Schools need to go beyond the three R’s to improve college and career readiness with technical skills”, said Ray Kelly, CEO, Certiport (www.ceritiport.com), a certification testing company (Sarah W. Caron, “Tomorrow’s Workforce: What Students Need”). Having a command over technology will certainly lead you towards innovation and new ideas for example, designing a new app or website for your product or service, etc. This will ultimately boost up the country’s economic growth.
On the contrary, some people would argue that colleges and universities should primarily be concerned with teaching core subjects that are theoretical and conceptual in order to convey a vivid picture of the particular discipline and should also teach moral values and ethics to student so that they can lead a righteous life. However, teaching only hard core concepts will make life difficult not only for students to assimilate knowledge but also for instructors to impart knowledge. On the other hand, practical demonstrations through one’s own and even other’s experiences would facilitate the learning process because actions speak louder than words. Moreover, in certain cases its your attitude not your aptitude that decides your altitude and the job market serves as the best example that fits in this scenario. This calls for occupational training in order to hone your skills that are crucial for the workplace. Other than that character building in terms of morals and values is not something to be rigorously taught at a university level.
At colleges and universities students have almost entered their adult life and by then they are expected to know and demonstrate behavior that is morally and socially correct and acceptable. It is fundamentally the job of the students’ families particularly their parents to guide them about their core values and ethics when they are young. This is because moral values taught at an early age will help students to imbibe them as soon as possible. Any deficiencies are to be met up by the schools and not by colleges and universities where students already have enough knowledge to discern between right and wrong. Also, students at college already go through a series of experiences that instill in them a variety of moral values such as avoiding cheating and plagiarism while completing assignments and during exams, meeting deadlines, learning cooperation during group projects, respecting the faculty and peers, being generous and friendly towards fellows, exercising self regulation and self control during interminable lectures, etc. So, there is no need to teach students morality as a separate subject at college and university level.
This brings us back to assert that colleges and universities should reconsider their mission and include preparing students for the workforce as their principal aim in order to produce adept and proficient workers with a thorough practical experience of their job related tasks, to increase quantity and quality of jobs offered to these experts in the future and to empower them with the technical training required to perform exceptionally well at their workplace. This will not only benefit the individuals alone but will also be a great boon for the society as a whole in the long- run because at the end these students are going to shape the future by playing their roles in their specific realm. The exigence is to ensure that they play their roles in the best possible way so that success and prosperity can be guaranteed.
Glenn, Marie. The future of higher education: How technology will shape learning. A report from the Economist Intelligence Unit, 2008. Print.
Townsend, Barbara K, Kevin J. Dougherty. Community college missions in the 21st century, Jossey-Bass, 2006. Print.
Caron, Sara W. “Tomorrow’s Workforce: What Students Need”. Education World ®. 26 October 2016. Web