When it comes to preparing the next generation of workers, the disconnect between college graduates and their future employers is widening. New research from Gallup and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation shows this reality is accompanied by solutions on how to better train students so they have the skills businesses require when they enter the working world. This gap, business owners report, is leaving them with a shrinking pool of talent from which to draw upon. According to the Gallup poll, 11 percent of business leader respondents said they strongly agreed that the traditional 4-year college experience is very or somewhat effective in producing an adequately-prepared workforce. This has led to employers rethinking how they locate and hire skilled graduates, resulting in increased competition between companies or unfulfilled job positions. Business owners reported that their companies are stagnating because they are unable to replenish or add to their rosters. The authors from the U.S Chamber of Commerce Center for Education and Workforce wrote that on the other end, graduates are leaving school saddled with debt and degrees that are not conducive to landing an in demand career. They cite another Gallup poll which said many graduates end up leaving college dissatisfied with their choice of major. In short, the traditional liberal arts degree is not what employers are seeking and is also no guarantee of future earnings to help pay down student debt. WorkingNation is interested in the solutions outlined in a new U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation, Gallup Inc., the American Institute for Research and USA Funds initiative called Launch My Career. The online resource seeks to better inform students to help them select a field of study that will maximize the return on their investment in higher education. From the website: The Launch My Career tool provides degree-seeking individuals access to data that:
  • Identifies “hot jobs” in demand across the state and in particular regions, as well as the degree or certificate programs that will prepare students for those roles
  • Compares projected future earnings to the investment required to graduate from a particular school and program
  • Analyzes the earnings potential of many career options
  • Helps students understand the personal and professional satisfaction that accompanies different careers and courses of study
So far, the program is only available in Texas, Colorado and Tennessee. if you are not living in one of these states, take a look anyway because it has the questions you may not ask of yourself when choosing the right major. Gallup also hosted a live forum on June 20 which explains Launch My Career in greater detail, which you can watch in the above video. The writers from the USCCF included some best practices for higher learning institutions to help guide students and teach them how to work. They found that colleges which facilitated more work-based learning through internships or classes modeled on real world work environments better served students. They suggested that companies look to form partnerships with universities in a win-win symbiotic relationship. You can see the fruits of these types of partnerships in our Year Up installment of our FutureWork video series. Join the Conversation: Tell us what you think about the problems facing graduates and employers on our Facebook page.

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