Graduates are Being Shortchanged

U.S. colleges and universities, like their counterparts in other western countries, are doing a poor job of preparing graduates for today's workplace. The biggest weakness in the post-secondary education sector in all countries is the lack of experience in today's workplace by those who are responsible for education policy, funding, administration and delivery.
How do these people who live in the land of the steady paycheck and traditional benefits relate to the challenges graduates face in trying to make their living from contract, temporary and part-time employment with few, if any, benefits including a pension?
The fundamental challenge for colleges and universities is that for generations they have been turning out employees. Now, increasingly, they will have to turn out entrepreneurs or students who have an enterprising approach to finding work. Currently, we continue to turn out graduates who expect that someone is going to offer them a job. When that doesn't happen, many give up and end up in low paying jobs in the service sector.
We've become very complacent about this issue and we need to end that complacency. If the best and brightest of our young people who have the brains and fortitude to graduate can't find meaningful work, we need to address that now.
Graduates can't afford to wait for the colleges and universities to enter the 21st century. They need to learn how to market themselves effectively, find hidden employment opportunities and seriously consider creating their own job.
Graduates should organize themselves and come up with creative ways to connect with employers, especially small firms, where most of the action is.
Going forward, graduates should demand that colleges, universities and the government do more to adequately prepare them for today's workplace. And demand is the operative word. Given how ossified these institutions are in their thinking, change will only come if it is driven from the outside.
In the meantime, graduates must take charge of creating their own success. And, with a little bit of help, they're absolutely capable of doing that.


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