While higher education once encouraged optimism and passion as deciding factors in choosing a major, the Great Recession made a lot of experts in education and staffing rethink how we prepare students for the workforce. Especially when it’s become clear that hard-to-fill positions are stagnating our country’s economic growth.
“The market is at a unique inflection point, and we need to make sure that we’re educating workers to have 21st century skills for 21st century jobs,” says Matt Ferguson, CEO of CareerBuilder and co-author of The Talent Equation. “While it’s encouraging to see accelerated participation growth in STEM-related college programs, the slowdown in overall degree completions – especially those tied to developing strong communications and critical-thinking skills – is concerning. Nearly half of employers say they currently have job vacancies but can’t find skilled candidates to fill them. We need to do a better job informing students and workers about which fields are in-demand and growing, and provide them with access to affordable education and training, so the journey to a high-skill job is an achievable one regardless of their socioeconomic situation.”