Also worth a read in this Sunday’s The New York Times is Thomas Friedman’s article, “If You’ve Got the Skills, She’s Got the Job.” Two main takeaways for me are that first, jobs today require a higher level of analytical competency than in the past. Welding is the example of a job that in the past sufficed with apprenticeship training, but now requires mastery of geometry, metallurgy, and other scientific fields.
The second take-away is the community colleges are leading the effort here. Friedman quotes Miami-Dade’s Eduardo Padrón:
‘The skill shortage is real. Years ago, we started working with over 100 companies to meet their needs. Every program that we offer has an industry advisory committee that helps us with curriculum, mentorship, internships and scholarships. … Spanish-speaking immigrants used to be able to come here and get a decent job doing repetitive tasks in an office or factory and earn enough to buy a home and car and put their kids through school and enjoy middle-class status. That is no longer possible. … The big issue in America is not the fiscal deficit, but the deficit in understanding about education and the role it plays in the knowledge economy.’
This sounds a lot like College to Careers. Yet a visit to Miami-Dade’s website shows that they have firmly embraced the dual mission of liberal arts and career education, evidenced by Philosophy sitting right above Phlebotomy Technician on their list of program offerings. Their list does not look all that different from HWC’s own Program Finder.
My liberal arts post will need to wait even longer as I incorporate this additional data and strip out the irony.