November 22, 2022

Career-Focused Outcomes is the Future of Higher Education (updated)

Community partnerships unlock access to broad resources and knowledge

According to the AACU, just 62% of employers believe that most or all college graduates possess the knowledge and skills needed to succeed in entry-level positions, and fewer (55%) believe they possess the knowledge and skills required for advancement and promotion. 

College graduates entering the workforce possess a major tech skills gap that leaves employers unable to find people with the right skills for the jobs available. And this will only continue to grow as the demand for tech skills increases. 

This leaves higher education with the tall order of navigating a changing landscape while preparing students with a comprehensive education that makes them ready to meet the needs of an ever-changing workforce. Integrating technical workforce training into an existing college curriculum is an effective solution for helping to develop students who are job-ready and provides additional value to the existing college curriculum. 

The Biggest Challenges Colleges Face: Keeping Pace with Technology

Now more than ever, colleges have an important role to play in ensuring that graduates enter the job market with the skills that are most in-demand by today’s employers. And today those skills primarily focus on technology. In this day and age, every job is a “technology” job. Every student in every major needs to graduate with foundational tech skills if they are to be considered to be prime talent in the workforce. Here are a couple of real-life examples shared by SHRM

When Martin Fiore talks with his colleagues, he often hears that managers are disappointed that college didn't equip new hires with what employers consider basic technical and practical skills.  

"Maybe a student took an Excel class at college, maybe level 1 or level 2. Then he goes to work and is asked to do modeling in Excel and [has] no idea how to do it," said Fiore, who is a tax managing partner for the U.S. Eastern region at EY in New York City. "Today's businesses have used Excel as a common language for years, so most people now are very advanced at using it."

Sue Bhatia, founder of Rose International, a staffing agency based in Chesterfield, Mo., told of one graduate—from a top computer-science school—who was overwhelmed after taking his first job in cloud computing.

"He had taken three required calculus classes that didn't prepare him for his job," she said. "A traditional classroom can only teach so much when it comes to emerging technologies."

However, colleges by themselves cannot instill the complex set of skills and abilities that adequately prepare students for their careers and civic life. This requires resources and knowledge that come from broader community partnerships. The future of higher education must embrace a curriculum that is career-focused with integrated workforce training for every major.

Preparing American Students for the Workforce of the Future

Colleges must look to quickly and efficiently ramp up their existing curriculum by integrating workforce training into their majors, both technical and non-technical. Accessible, flexible, and career-focused education is the future of academia. Early career preparation must be holistic—meaning it must support the development of academic knowledge and skills, technical skills, and 21st-century skills, like communication and teamwork—in order to set students up to be competitive for future good jobs. 

This holistic approach extends far beyond what can be captured in test scores, which account for more than 50 percent of current school accountability systems. Instead, colleges must shift their approach to incentivize behaviors that better prepare students for tomorrow’s workforce. In order to stay competitive, and to produce the best-educated workforce, colleges must link arms with partnering organizations who are poised to deliver this supplemental education when and where it is needed the most. 

Partnering with NuPaths

NuPaths is an IT workforce development training company that partners with colleges and universities to efficiently integrate technical skills training into the college curriculum. These programs provide technical skills to college students so that they may enter the workforce armed with in-demand skills that differentiate them from other college graduates, who don’t have the same technical experience from their college education

NuPaths’ integrated workforce training programs fill the technical skills gap in existing college programs by incorporating today’s in-demand tech skills into non-tech and tech majors, resulting in well-rounded, future-ready graduates. A college can choose to offer the NuPaths programs in a number of ways for a variety of audiences:

  • Current Students: Part of a degree program as electives for current students
  • Recent Grads: Programs for recent graduates to provide additional workforce readiness
  • Alumni: Benefit for alumni who are upskilling or want to change careers
  • Employers: Training through the college for local and regional employers to upskill their employees
  • Community: Mechanism to increase impact on the regional workforce by providing a non-degree workforce development solution

The future of higher education is about providing accessible, flexible, and career-focused education. NuPaths is a path forward for colleges and universities. Contact us to explore your options!

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