Harvard Study: Students are Unprepared for Job Market

Students are not ready to take on their chosen career paths when they graduate from college, a Harvard study finds.  Published on Wednesday, the two-year study finds that the one-size-fits-all education system is leaving students either jobless or unprepared for a job.

Pathways to Prosperity Project, at the Harvard University Graduate School of Education, encourages U.S. schools to become more like Europe’s.  European students can expect their educational experience to focus on occupational training, rather than general education studies.

Harvard found that only 30 percent of young adults in the U.S. obtained a bachelor’s degree. However, the amount of jobs that require post-secondary education have decreased, and only one third of future jobs are expected to require a bachelor’s degree or higher.

“What I fear is the continuing problem of too many kids dropping by the wayside and the other problem of kids going into debt, and going into college but not completing with a degree or certificate,”  Robert Schwartz said, the academic dean of the Harvard Graduate School of Education. “Almost everybody can cite some kid who marched off to college because it was the only socially legitimate thing to do but had no real interest.”

The study encourages our education system to help students search for a career path at a young age. According to the recommendations, students should receive career counseling and work-related opportunities before they leave middle school, and by the time they reach high school, they should have access to paid internships and educational programs related to their career of choice.

The study also advises students to not only look into college but vocational schools as well. The idea of suggesting other alternatives to college isn’t a new idea, and it isn’t without criticism.  Some critics believe that this push would discourage students from excelling in school or route disadvantaged students towards tw0-year programs, which could in turn limit their career options later in life.

“Nobody who spends much time in America’s high schools could possibly argue that they are focused on college for all, or ever have been,” Kati Haycock said, president of The Education Trust which is a nonpartisan Washington, D.C.-based think tank. “Most schools still resist that idea, instead continuing long-standing, unfair practices of sorting and selecting like an educational caste system – directing countless young people, especially low-income students and students of color, away from college-prep courses and from seeing themselves as ‘college material.'”

However, Sandy Baum, an independent higher education policy analyst, thinks that not all students need to be college bound.

“What we’d like is a system where people of all backgrounds could choose to be plumbers or to be philosophers,” Baum added. “Those options are not open. But we certainly need plumbers so it’s wrong to think we should be nervous about directing people in that route.”

What do you think? Is college right for everyone?

Via The Huffington Post








One Response to “Harvard Study: Students are Unprepared for Job Market”

  1. PCB says:

    No surprise here–my newly minted, newly hired MIT MBA could not even write a simple business letter! But she could really crunch financial numbers.


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