SXSW EDU 2024: The liberal arts degree and the workforce

Philomena V. Mantella, president of Grand Valley State University, joined WorkingNation to share her thoughts on job opportunities for liberal arts grads

Employer partners are helping liberal arts students earn certificates to make them workforce-ready, says Philomena V. Mantella, president of Grand Valley State University in Allendale, Michigan.

Mantella joined WorkingNation’s editor-in-chief Ramona Schindelheim for WorkingNation Overheard at SXSW EDU 2024 in Austin.

She notes that among 23,000 learners at GVSU, 1,300 are adult learners – which she defines as 25 years or older. “The structures we have in traditional universities just, oftentimes, don’t work for them. The whole structure around it has to be repositioned, which is why we’ve built a new division to really relate to their needs.”

Mantella adds, “I think it’s really important for us to examine higher education’s compounded value through the years as it relates not only to starting career but careers over a lifetime.

“One of the things we’re focused on at Grand Valley – how can we lift our impact, not only to our region, which would be West Michigan – but to our state, to the Midwest and to the national work we have to do on our talent gaps?”

Learn more about Grand Valley State University.

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