Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Restoration drama

Restoration drama - by Natasha Loder, The Economist print edition

America’s under-appreciated community colleges hold promise 
Apr 28th 2012 | CHICAGO AND BOSTON 

COMPARED with its world-famous universities, America’s community colleges are virtually anonymous. But over half of the nation’s 20m undergraduates attend them, and the number is growing fast. Poor, minority and first-generation-immigrant students are far more likely to get their tertiary education from community colleges—where two-year courses offer a cheap route to a degree—than from universities. And, increasingly, many policymakers are wondering whether more attention to the colleges might be a low-cost way of resolving the nation’s shortage of skilled workers.

America’s problem with training was laid bare in a report published last year by Deloitte, a consultancy firm, and the Manufacturing Institute. It identified 600,000 positions that were going unfilled because there were too few qualified skilled workers. Too many colleges, it seems, still fail to align themselves with the needs of local employers, a mismatch that is bad both for the employers and for potential employees, though arguably universities are even worse at doing this. [More...]