So a friend and colleague sent me a link to Why are so many college students failing to gain job skills before graduation?, a post from The Washington Post higher education news blog, Grade Point. As the title not-so-subtly suggests, there is a threshold barrier to gainful employment for college seniors and, not surprisingly, recent graduates.
The post calls out the results of the Collegiate Learning Assessment Plus test. This is given to students in the first and last (senior) year to measure their gains in critical thinking, writing/communication, and analytical reasoning. The test results show that 40% of seniors fail to graduate with complex reasoning skills. Now consider this in light of The Association of American Colleges & Universities surveys of both students and employers. The purpose of the surveys are to gauge their respective opinions about graduates ‘readiness’ for the job market. The graphic below summarizes the surveys’ findings:
Apparently there is a perception problem or a misalignment between what or how schools prepare their students for entering the job market and what employers seek or need. There’s no easy answer but, I think, highlighting these findings is a strong start for positive outcomes on an individual basis.
Schools should actively and effectively encourage their students to blend together their practical and scholastic campus life experience. Students (and their parents) should stress-less on picking a major to match the job market and put greater emphasis on developing the skills to successfully live away from the reading list and a syllabus. Taking a step toward making this adjustment is way more likely to produce an employable class, writ large.