Monday, January 9, 2017

AV#156 - 2071 – Department of Workforce Development – A History

                                                                                    January 9, 2017


Published by the Colorado Department of Workforce Development and Training (once known as the Colorado Department of Education), January 2071. (See NOTE to reader.)

Looking back, it is clear when our country made the transition from educating to training, from outdated notions about the liberal arts to the practical world of career-readiness. A series of articles between 2012 and 2016 shows we took our first steps then toward today’s Brave New World, where we are happy to report that all 3,000,000 K-12 future workers attend 4,500 Career Training Centers across the great state of Colorado.  We are equally thrilled to add that, while it took until 2060 to redesign ECE, we now ensure every child between ages 3-5 can participate in Early Career Exercises.

The following is from the chapter on five years, 2012–2016, in reverse chronological order (as some readers will find 2016 stories most relevant).  But the seeds were clearly being sown before then.    

To help readers inclined to skim through much of this, see passages I have put in bold. Or simply note the frequent use of two words: workforce (51 times) and training (47 times).
                             



2016

Congress Faces Range of Education* Issues in Next Session
Andrew Ujifusa, Education Week, Dec. 12, 2016


*2071 Update – By 2016 we were on our way to strike that antiquated term, “education,” from all Congressional committees.  Today, they are simply called: “Workforce Training.”
With President-elect Donald Trump waiting in the wings, the Republican majority in Congress will have the opportunity to tackle a host of education* issues when its next session begins in 2017…. there will be significant turnover in some key positions: In addition to Trump's selection of school choice advocate Betsy DeVos to be education* secretary, the House education committee will have a new leader, Rep. Virginia Foxx, R-N.C. … Fox leads the subcommittee on higher education* and workforce training. In 2014 she helped shepherd through a reauthorization of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act.

Workforce Development
CA - Growth of Career Programs Emphasizing Hands-On Learning Offer Students New Opportunities
The Orange County Department of Education received a $15 million grant from the trust that it used to create the OC Pathways program, which includes 14 school districts, nine community colleges and dozens of business and other partners. Tim Buzza, vice president of program development at Virgin Galactic, told students that companies such as his now rely on pathway programs for their next generation of workers. “We really need these feeder programs in place ….” (Ed Source, Dec. 1)
_____
Note to reader- For AV#156—and “2071”—I acknowledge a debt to George Orwell. He was writing his great dystopian novel in 1948.


Educational Attainment
Higher-Ed Leaders Look to Boost Degrees, Certificates
The state Higher Education Coordinating Council on Monday set the preliminary 55 percent goal as part of a process to obtain a grant to help the state promote the alignment of the education levels of its workforce with the needs of Florida's future economy and employers(Daily Commercial, Nov. 30)


Colorado workers, businesses need to be flexible to develop tomorrow's workforce, says report
Caitlin Hendee, Denver Business Journal, Oct. 3, 2016

The key to success in today's business climate in Colorado is to be flexible, and to understand that job skills will change as sectors continue to evolve. In other words, job qualifications are shifting and increasingly require high levels of technology literacy, requiring workers to have a "liquid skills mindset," according to the 2016 Talent Pipeline Report, released Monday by the Colorado Workforce Development Council (CWDC).
The report takes an in-depth look at how the state is performing when it comes to educating future workforces and working with businesses to create skill-sets they'll need in real-world jobs.
The CWDC also on Monday announced the launch of TalentFOUND, the "brand" of the Colorado talent development network, which will launch in the spring.
The network will be a one-stop shop for students, job seekers, workers and businesses to access tools and resources needed to participate in state programs like apprenticeships and internships.
Last year's Talent Pipeline Report focused primarily on the need for state education systems and businesses to work together to produce the kinds of workers who have the skills needed to survive in a business climate that increasingly steers toward science, technology, engineering and math.

Addendum – Dissenting Voices (2012-2016)

    An objective report such as this is obliged to note that other perspectives were being published between 2012 and 2016.  For your amusement, we include a few examples (Addendum). Happily, America ignored these “dire warnings.” By the 2020’s subversive views of this kind were in the minority, and nearly silenced. As of 2030 we had laid the foundations for our current structure.
    Today we are confident that our new system is securely in place, and that we have eliminated education as one of our goals. No more murky mumbo jumbo about learning for life and finding meaning.  That ancient world of “schools” was bound to fail, where they carried such a diffuse mission, so little of it measurable -  “teaching” citizenship, values, inquiry ….
    No more confusion. We now focus on what is most important: TRAINING for JOBS. 

Boeing awards $6 million in grants for STEM education (and its future workforce)
Alan Boyle, GeekWire, Sept. 21, 2016

Three universities and scores of other educational programs stand to benefit from $6 million in grants from the Boeing Co. – a bonanza that’s designed to boost the company’s future workforce in Washington state.
Grants totaling $1 million are going to the University of Washington, Washington State University and Seattle University. The other $5 million will be divvied up among about 50 nonprofit groups and educational institutions across the state.                                                                        
Boeing said some of the largest grants will support Thrive Washington, which focuses on early learning; Washington STEM and its K-12 learning initiative; and SkillUp Washington, which partners with community and technical colleges on training for manufacturing jobs.
The grants focus on STEM education – science, technology, engineering and math – as well as workforce training, …
Bill McSherry, vice president of government relations and global corporate citizenship for Boeing Commercial Airplanes, said his company sees the grants as a long-range investment in its own future.
“Our goal with these grants and contributions is to make sure that it’s Washington students who are getting the skills they need to fill the jobs that we know are going to come open at Boeing and the aerospace industry,” McSherry explained.
Colorado Unveils $9.5M Youth Apprenticeship Program
Jenny Brundin, Colorado Public Radio, Sept. 14, 2016

Colorado took a major step in building a locally grown workforce on Wednesday by launching a youth apprenticeship program modeled after one in Switzerland. U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez was in Denver for the announcement, which he says makes Colorado a national leader at transforming the way students move from high school into careers.  "You’re going to have a lot of other states wanting to come and visit you to figure out what you’re doing," Perez said.
The apprenticeships of old were a way for young people to learn the trades, like plumbing or welding. Traditionally trades companies would train a young worker teaching them skills and then give them a job.  But nowadays, countries like Switzerland use apprenticeship programs to fill jobs in a bunch of areas – like finance, IT, engineering, and the biomedical sciences.
"I am confident this is going to be something where you’re going to stimulate your economy," he said.
         *2071 update – 
In fact, by 2027 1/3rd of our high school students were in apprenticeship programs; 2/3 by 2040; and 100% by 2050. Last year (2070) most 3rd and 4th graders were in apprenticeship programs! This year –2nd graders too!
The program will start next fall. Students in 11th grade could spend up to three days a week at a company. The other two days they’re in high school, getting the core classes in other areas that they need to graduate. They’d also get paid for their time with the company and graduate with some college credit.  The goal for 2027 is to have one in 10 high school students in an apprentice program. (*See box.)                                                                       Denver Public Schools has already laid the groundwork for an apprenticeship program. This summer as part of the district’s CareerConnect program, 7,000 kids participated in internships in various technical fields. It was meant to be a stepping stone to the apprenticeship program that the district will pilot next fall across industries: information technology, healthcare, advanced manufacturing and business and finance.
Students will get paid, get trained, and by the time they graduate high school, they will have earned half of a bachelor’s degree.
OPINION - “Giving Colorado’s youth the skills and education to succeed”
By John Hickenlooper, Michael R. Bloomberg and Jamie Dimon, Denver Post, Sept. 14, 2016

… the economic future for young Coloradans. Less than one in four students entering high school today will obtain a college degree or post-secondary credential. Yet, college or formal training beyond high school is needed for nearly nine out of 10 good, well-paying jobs.
We are in the process of building a real pipeline of talent that goes from the school, the campus directly to the workplace,” Gov. John Hickenlooper said at the kickoff event.
In response to this, businesses, along with the public sector, are launching an innovative statewide youth apprenticeship program called CareerWise Colorado.  These apprenticeships will provide high school students paid work experience to gain essential skills in high-growth industries…
Bloomberg Philanthropies and JPMorgan Chase are together investing $9.5 million in this new business-led initiative, which will prepare high school students for careers that both have growth potential and pay a good wage. The funding will also support an ongoing, successful pilot through Denver Public Schools’ CareerConnect and other districts statewide to equip students with the skills they need to succeed.
Beginning next fall, high school juniors statewide will be able to choose apprenticeships that place them directly into paid, meaningful and productive positions with committed employers. These employers will see them through three years of training and prepare them directly for good careers or, if they choose, to continue their education.
Students will spend up to half of their time on-site with employers while still earning credit toward high school graduation and post-secondary credentials. A third year of apprenticeship experience will further prepare students to enter the workforce directly or continue their education — supported by the wages they have earned along the way.

Colorado's 2016 workforce-development package now fully signed into law
Ed Sealover, Denver Business Journal, June 7, 2016

“Colorado has thousands of good, high-paying jobs that require applicants who are well educated and trained,” crowed Patricia Levesque, CEO of the Florida-based Foundation for Excellence in Education about that bill …. “By rewarding schools for students who earn an industry-recognized credential, and possibly for completing internships and apprenticeships as well, Colorado is creating opportunities for its students while laying the groundwork for a more competitive workforce in the future.”



Gov. signs jobs bill to help high school students get better prepared for workplace
John Pompia, The Pueblo Chieftain, May 27, 2016

It’s a crucial piece of this year’s jobs package, a bill that creates an incentives-based pilot program that helps provide high school students looking to enter the working world with the proper tools, thereby creating a stronger and more competitive workforce.
HB16-1289 — Incentives to Complete Career Development Courses — will provide financial incentives for school districts and charter schools to encourage high schoolers to earn an industry certification tied to an in-demand job, finish a rigorous workplace training program tied to key industry needs or successfully complete a computer science advance placement course.
“Seventy percent of our kids, not just in Colorado but across the country, aren’t going to get a college degree,” Hickenlooper told the gallery. “I think it makes sense to do things like this and provide some motivation and incentives for kids that don’t want to go to college. Let them get out there earlier and begin to taste what it’s like to work.”
The bill, he added, will give a boost to schools “to provide that kind of training that allows them to get skills specifically directed toward work.
“And it doesn’t just have to be trades. I think ultimately this kind of a program will adapt itself to the insurance industry, the banking industry, all kinds of places.”

High school overhaul: New Virginia plan all-in on job training in junior, senior years
Travis Fain, Daily Press, April 4, 2016

Virginia high school is going to look different for the freshmen who enroll in 2018.
Even the idea of high school will be different, according to architects of a plan that the State Board of Education will flesh out over the next two years.
Many core classes will be taught in those first two years. Then students will have a choice: A path to a four-year college degree, preparations for a two-year community college degree or the chance to leave high school with a certification that says they're ready to go to work in one of several industries, with the options based partly on what local businesses say they need from the workforce.
Internships and apprenticeships will be worth credit toward high school graduation. The push to emphasize job skills in high school, already well underway on the Peninsula and around the state, will accelerate.
"This is a game changer," said state Sen. John Miller, who carried legislation this session laying out the basics of what he called a "very substantial redesign."
Two Colorado districts' ideas of how school should work
Scott Laband, Guest Column, The Denver Post, March 4, 2016

At Colorado Succeeds - a coalition of business leaders committed to improving our state's education system - we want our students to receive an education that prepares them for our workforce and provides them with the skills to help our economy thrive. We work to shine a light on disruptive innovation so it spreads to other schools. …
Another district worth recognizing is St. Vrain Valley, which makes education relevant to both students and local industry by connecting them in meaningful ways. The district created and hired a director of innovation, Patty Quinones, and focused education on STEM. …
P-TECH, developed in association with IBM in New York City, came to Colorado last year and both Falcon and St. Vrain will open the state's first P-TECH schools for the 2016-17 academic year. P-TECH brings mentoring from local businesses, industry certifications in relevant skills and internships at local firms. It's a program that often leads to job opportunities, either before or after college, because companies and students become so connected. At St. Vrain, high school kids can earn $10 an hour working on projects for local businesses. Even kindergarteners can tour local businesses to see with their own eyes what the future might hold for them.

       What’s cooking at Fruita High                          
Katie Langford, The Daily Sentinel, Feb.12, 2016

Students at Fruita Monument and Palisade high schools who love the food service and hospitality industries are receiving a much needed funding boost for technology, competitions, professional experience and college credit.
ProStart is a high school hospitality education program focused on equipping students for jobs or further education in restaurants, hotels or other businesses.
The $340,000 grant from the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment will benefit ProStart programs at 29 Colorado high schools as well as start new programs at four high schools.
Students who take ProStart classes come away with tangible and immediately applicable skills, said Mary Mino, state director of ProStart and president of the Colorado Restaurant Foundation Education Association. “It’s a program that delivers industry right into the classroom, and what that means to a student is that industry is providing them with real employability skills,” Mino said. “If they walk right out of our program and into a business establishment, they will walk in with all the skills to get a job. Everything from a how-to interview to skills for the front of house or back of house in a restaurant or the front desk of a hotel.” 
Starting with fall 2016 classes, students in FMHS ProStart can earn between 12 and 15 college credits from Western Colorado Community College and Metropolitan State University.

Effort aims to turn Yampah Mountain High into a 'super school'
John Stroud, Post Independent, Feb. 6, 2016

Yampah Mountain High School, an alternative high school in Glenwood Springs serving students from Aspen to Parachute, is being proposed for a $10 million national 21st Century Super Schools grant.
Yampah Mountain High School in Glenwood Springs is being pitched for a huge national grant designating it as a model for what high school education should be in preparing 21st century students for life and career….

*2071 Update – “Archaic.” Exactly.  Tragic that it took us so long to see this. But kudos to the brave pioneers, like Chuluun, who led us down a better path—preparing our kids for jobs!
Altai Chuluun, founder of the young professionals group GlenX, is spearheading the effort along with Yampah school leaders and the valleywide Cradle to Career initiative.  “Kids learn best when they can focus on what they are passionate about and what they are good at doing,” Chuluun said. “Education should be about helping students develop skills early and teaching them how to make a viable career out of it.”  “I think a lot of people agree that the current school system is lacking in a lot of ways in preparing students, and is based on some very archaic* purposes.”        http://www.postindependent.com/news/20454318-113/effort-aims-to-turn-yampah-mountain-high-into

$1.5 billion helping career pathways take off in California's high schools
Fermin Leale, EdSource, Jan. 26, 2015

The program, the only one of its kind in the state, is part of a career technical education boom across California. As record numbers of high school students are applying to state colleges and universities, more are also receiving hands-on training in high-demand technical careers even before they earn their diplomas. The students, many beginning in the 9th grade, are in career pathways learning job skills alongside professionals in fields including aviation, health care, civil engineering, fashion design, tourism and new media.
“From a historical perspective, it’s great that there is such an investment in career technical education,” said Stephanie Houston, president of the California Association of Regional Occupational Centers and Programs.  “If we invest in a trained workforce, the jobs will come. So the areas that better develop the pipeline are the ones that are going to have a thriving economy,” she said.


2015

It’s never too early to build a better workforce
Caitlin Hendee, Denver Business Journal, Sept. 4, 2015

2071 Update – Key supporters of our work back then were non-profits that began to articulate what everyone now believes: “the end”–is “a career.”  RIP John Dewey!  Ha-ha!
The shadow is one of many programs conducted by Junior Achievement-Rocky Mountain Inc., an educational organization that takes students from participating metro Denver schools out of the classroom and into real-world situations and offices those kids may one day work in.  "That’s what this whole thing has done; it puts a spotlight on the fact that education is a means to an end ... and the end is to have a career, to have something to enjoy earned success," said JA-Rocky Mountain CEO Robin Wise.
It's also something that's critical to helping lower-income kids get access to the quality education that will lead to them joining the workforce of the future, she said.

Metro State expands beer program with Tivoli Brewing
Nelson Garcia, KUSA, August 20, 2015

DENVER - For Gary Thompson, the combination of beer and college is perfect for him at Metropolitan State University of Denver.  "Aren't most college students drinking beer when they're in college?" Thompson asked. In his case, Thompson is studying Brewery Operations Management in a place that is expanding its Beer Industry Program. "They are actually the only university in the U.S. that has an onsite brewery on campus," Thompson said.
… Construction is underway to revive the (Tivoli) brewery and make it part of the MSU Denver program.
"I think the fact that we have a production brewery here on campus really gives our students at Metropolitan State, the advantage," Scott Kerkmans, Brewing Studies Professor, said.
Kerkmans has just been named coordinator of the Beer Industry Program at Metro State. "We're giving really serious classes," he said. They're taking brewing science. They're taking quality and sensory analysis courses. They're taking management courses."
Students will get the chance to learn the craft on the production line instead of just in a classroom.
"Other schools have fermentation science programs and stuff like that," Thompson said. "But, they don't actually have the day-to-day operations of running a brewery."
Kerkmans says the expansion is a direct result of the demand in Colorado. He says over the past several years, the number of licensed craft brewers in the state has doubled.
"I think it is a little bit funny or interesting that you can now go to college for beer," Kerkmans said.  

Tapping Wages for Training
Ashley A. Smith, Inside Higher Ed, August 13, 2015

The Michigan New Jobs Training Program works as a two-way pipeline between the state's community colleges and local industries. Businesses looking for a well-trained workforce contract with the colleges to provide training for their newly hired employees. The colleges are then paid by diverting state income tax withholdings from the employees into a fund that reimburses the institutions.
The state lost more than half of its manufacturing jobs in a 10-year period, so politicians on both sides of the aisle were looking for ways to stimulate job creation in 2008, when the program was created.
The community colleges are authorized to capture the income tax withholding associated with the new employee's wages and to use that pot of money to train the new employees.
The community colleges work with their employer partners to develop the contract's terms and the type of specialized training employees receive.
Because Michigan is the only state in the country without a centralized higher education office or coordinating board, that means its community colleges are completely autonomous in the type of programs they offer, especially to the companies that are interested in partnering with them for specific workforce training. That training can range from offering associate degrees to certifications or specialized training, Adriana Phelan said.
Business Community Pushes for Curriculum Changes
Jennifer Swindell, Idaho Ed News, July 9, 2015

Idaho’s business community is instigating an effort to change curriculum in order to produce graduates with improved critical thinking and problem-solving skills.
It’s an industry-led effort to develop a more skilled work force.
“This is going to be a game-changer,” said Blaine Bergeson, a senior software engineer at Micron. “We think it’s significant.”
Members of the Idaho Technology Council believe computer science should be taught to all Idaho children. The council’s “CS K-12 Initiative” is about getting computer science in every classroom.
In a side benefit, more students could become interested in computer science or programming careers. The tech industry has a chronic shortage of candidates for these high-paying jobs, and the need is expected to grow in the coming years.
Career Technical Education
Caralee J. Adams, Report Roundup, Education Week, May 6, 2015

"New Pathways to College and Careers: Examples, Evidence, and Prospects"
*2071 Update - We are not sure why we often see phrases like “rigorous academic courses” in the archives—as if to justify what they were doing. Today we make no such claims. We know career prep has nothing to do with academic rigor. It never did.
New high school programs that merge career and technical education with rigorous academic courses to prepare students for both college and career are gaining momentum.  But new research suggests more needs to be done to strengthen successful "pathways" in schools if the concept is truly going to take off.  The report released last month by the nonprofit research organization MDRC highlights successful college and career pathways in California, Florida, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and Tennessee, where vocational programs have been transformed into comprehensive, full-time, academically rigorous* high schools.



High School Reform   -   What if a high school diploma guaranteed a highly paid job?
A new vocational school in Waco makes an unheard-of promise to its graduates
Sarah Garland, Hechinger Report, March 25, 2015

… the academy offers a unique promise that’s unheard of even among a new generation of career and technical schools striving to make education more relevant and useful for today’s teenagers: a guarantee of a job after graduation.
Welders can make $60,000 in Waco, so a new vocational school is going against the grain to train students for this 20th-century, blue-collar career.
“If kids finish, they will be hired,” said Robin McDurham, executive director of secondary education for the Waco Independent School District. “If we had a kid who was looking for a job and hadn’t been placed, we would call the businesses and say, ‘We have one that hasn’t been picked up.’

Creation of Career Pathways for Students - House Bill 15-1274
Testimony to the House Business Affairs and Labor Committee
Frank Waterous, Ph.D., Senior Policy Analyst - March 19, 2015

The Bell Policy Center strongly supports House Bill 15-1274. The bill requires the creation of integrated career pathways for critical industries in Colorado modeled on the manufacturing career pathway authorized by HB 13-1165, which the Bell also strongly supported. …
The career pathways called for in this bill are responsive to the recommendations of leading national and local organizations, including the Working Poor Families Project, the National Skills Coalition, the Alliance for Quality Career Pathways, the Joyce Foundation, Jobs For The Future, the National Commission on Adult Literacy and the Skills2Compete-Colorado campaign, of which the Bell is a member.
Simply put, the Bell believes that HB 15-1274 is good education policy, good workforce-development policy and good economic-development policy.
  • It is good education policy because the career pathways it requires will help more Colorado students – traditional-age and non-traditional working adults, including low-income and low-skill workers – acquire the marketable skills and post-secondary credentials needed for success in a variety of key industries.
  • It is good workforce-development policy because these career pathways will help Colorado employers fill the critically needed skilled positions that are the foundation for business productivity and growth.
… HB 15-1274 is a key step forward in providing marketable education and skills training for current and future workers ….

(NOTE: Gov. Hickenlooper signed HB 15-1274 into law, May 18, 2015.)

2014

Metro State curriculum is set to take off (see related story in 2013)
Laura Keeney, The Denver Post, Nov. 13, 2014

Metropolitan State University of Denver is combining aerospace science and aviation, industrial design, engineering, computer sciences and physics study into a multidisciplinary advanced manufacturing curriculum designed to train the next generation of Colorado aerospace workers.
And they’re doing it by working hand in hand with several of the state’s aerospace and aviation giants, such as Lockheed Martin Space Systems and Jeppeson Aviation.
This is focused on the workforce. We’re moving in to fill a niche that hasn’t been filled yet,” Metro State president Stephen Jordan said.


Got skills?
Schumpter, The Economist, Aug. 23, 2014

Vocation, vocation, vocation  -  In a new e-book Clayton Christensen, of Harvard Business School, and Michelle Weise, of the Christensen Institute, argue that this presages a revolution: students will be able to take courses that provide them with essential skills quickly and cheaply. The great disrupter of higher education will not be MOOCs (massive online open courses), they insist: these mostly focus on delivering standard academic education over the internet and suffer from drop-out rates of up to 95%. Rather, it will be a new approach to learning which makes plenty of use of the internet but ties education more closely to work….

Governance, Policy Feuds Roil Indiana k-12 Landscape
Andrew Ujifusa, Education Week, March 21, 2014

Looming Issues
   (Gov. Mike Pence) last August created a new agency, the Center for Education and Career Innovation, to foster greater cohesion between public schools, job training, and the workforce.  
   Claire Fiddian-Green, the governor's special assistant for education innovation, who leads the CECI, said (State Superintendent Glenna) Ritz and Gov. Pence have developed a close partnership to promote and support "works councils" throughout the state to improve regional career and technical education.

2071 Update - Historians will note how Pence was indeed “blazing a trail” in 2014.  The nation was soon to follow once he led a bipartisan initiative that made career and tech prep a priority.
Blazing a Trail?
… Ms. Fiddian-Green, the aide to Gov. Pence, said Indiana gets "a lot of questions" from other states about the CECI's approach to workforce development.




STEM Academy's Reach Spans Illinois
Liana Heitin, Education Week, Feb. 19, 2014

The Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy was established nearly three decades ago as an independent, state-run agency with two legislative charges: to offer a challenging education for students gifted in Stem and to "stimulate further excellence for all Illinois schools in mathematics and science." The goal was essentially an economic one—to prepare a workforce of engineers, researchers, and computer programmers that could serve Illinois.

Governors Pitch Early Education, Workforce Development Ideas
Adrienne Lu, Stateline, Feb. 6, 2014

Training students in the skills that industry needs and expanding early childhood education could be the big winners in state funding this year if governors get their way. After years of cuts to education, governors are presenting lawmakers with long wish lists for schools.
WORKFORCE SKILLS
Several governors pitched proposals or expansions of existing programs to train students in skills that are in demand. Their ideas include linking colleges with private industry, providing scholarships or free tuition for community college students and encouraging students to pursue science, technology, engineering and math studies.
South Dakota Gov. Dennis Daugaard said he will spend at least $8.5 million to fund grants to help K-12 schools strengthen career and technical education programs. These programs "are very closely aligned with our state's workforce needs from welding and machining, to health care and information technology, to engineering and biosciences," Daugaard said.
… fellow Republican state Sen. Ryan Maher said it was encouraging to see some of the career and technical education issues he and others have been working on for years get some attention. "It's nice to see the governor step up and put some money toward those programs that are so vitally important to our students," Maher told Dakota Radio Group. "I know we've heard from a lot of businesses across the state that there is a skilled workforce shortage out there, so hopefully this will help remedy some of those problems and help get some of that new technology into our school systems." 

Obama Uses Address to Push K-12 Agenda
Feb. 5, 2014

High School Improvement and Worker Training - "We're working to redesign high schools and partner them with colleges and employers that offer the real-world education and hands-on training that can lead directly to a job and career." http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2014/02/05/20address.h33.html

Skills and youth - All hands on deck
The Economist, Jan. 18, 2014

That reflects a mismatch between what education systems provide and what employers need.   Mechanisation and technological advances mean the next generation will have to be better prepared for work. …  The real shortage is of the right skills, rather than of jobs.
Improving matters means ditching the outdated notion that education happens first and employment later, says Mona Mourshed of McKinsey. Educators need to get employers involved in course design, teaching and assessment, she says, as well as in tracking and learning from the future career paths of students. Switzerland offers careers advice and work experience to pupils as young as 12….
New approaches will have to acknowledge young people’s worries about the cost of education. Some firms have started to look for potential rather than polished new hires, and to sponsor the education of the most promising. In Charlotte, North Carolina, Apprenticeship 2000 provides training courses for industry in fields such as machine technology; employers pay the fees, help to write the curriculum—and guarantee a job afterwards.

2013

Metro State University of Denver seeks to boost aerospace program
Anthony Cotton, The Denver Post, Aug. 28, 2013

Metro has been reaching out to the industry, including Lockheed, to help determine the scope of the curriculum — whether an advanced manufacturing program would include a business component, or perhaps even accounting.
The idea, said Joan Foster, dean of Metro’s School of Letters, Arts and Sciences, and co-chair of the building committee, is to wed the critical thinking found in traditional education with training tailored towards specific jobs and skill sets.
“Someone may want to be in the field but not take a straight industrial track,” she said, “and the technology is changing so much anyway that we need to train students to be able to adapt to whatever may come next in the field.”
[Joe Rice, the director of government relations for Lockheed Martin, said the company] “is intrigued” by Metro’s project and hopes to continue conversations about partnering with the school. “Sometimes a research engineer may design a part but can’t actually build it,” he said. “Possibly there’s room in the middle where Metro could provide the training for workers in an area that doesn’t currently exist.”

Back to School: Colleges offer more help with career prep
Beth Harpaz, Associated Press News Fuze, July 18, 2013

While some top-tier schools can still attract students by promising self-discovery and intellectual pursuits, many colleges have changed their emphasis in the years since the recession hit. Instead of “Follow your passion,” the mantra has become more like, “We’ll help you get a job.”
Schools have revamped career centers, expanded internship programs and pushed alumni to serve as mentors. The changes are not only in response to a tough job market, but because parents are demanding that graduates be prepared for the workplace.
Detroit Training Center, April 23, 2013

…  With a conference room filled with educators, business leaders and students, we set out to understand how we can best assist in closing the gap between the business sector, education sector and students.
The major goal of the Education Summit was to find better ways to match supply and demand in the state. The day kicked off with a panel of students who spoke on what high school didn’t teach them about real world careers.  Later, business leaders identified key weaknesses that were selected from last month’s Economic Summit, where the private sector and education system must work together to solve (including): Better connectivity between businesses, education and talent.
The major highlights that came from the breakout session include: “Instead of having to retrain the workforce, let’s build systems within K-12 to give students all their career options before leaving the first time.”
What is the Detroit Training Center doing … ?  We train our students knowing that there is a job in mind and that they will have an employable license, certificate or skill-set that nearly guarantees them a job in this economic climate. We can also identify greater opportunities within our K-12 system for ushering students into our programs and helping them to become train [sic] and employed post-graduation.
  
More Colorado high schools cooking up recipe for culinary success
Kevin Simpson, The Denver Post, April 29, 2013

WESTMINSTER — Valerie Baylie announced the menu specials at the kitchens in Room 235 of Standley Lake High School: Top-loin steak with red-wine sauce; sweet Hawaiian mini-burgers; beef, pepper and mushroom kabobs; and Szechuan beef stir-fry.
… the program at Standley Lake, mirroring others across the state powered by industry partners, enjoys wide popularity as culinary classes ride a wave of pop culture cachet and economic opportunity.
Here, students learn the basics of cooking and nutrition before moving on to more complex culinary feats and the management process of costing out meals, restaurant-style, to determine their price points.  Introductory classes lead to participation in something called ProStart, a national program that offers curriculum, competitions and industry mentors through the Colorado Restaurant Association Education Foundation.
ProStart now reaches 29 Colorado high schools and about 850 students. Some couple their academic efforts with 400 hours of paid work in the industry to earn a national certificate that can translate into college credit and scholarship opportunities.
Grant Contest to Aid High Schools Still Work in Progress
Alyson Klein, Education Week, Feb. 27, 2013

Proponents of better aligning high school improvement, postsecondary education, and the workforce have high hopes for President Barack Obama's recent proposal to create a Race to the Top-style competitive-grant program specifically for secondary education.
Mr. Obama in his Feb. 12 State of the Union speech floated the idea of offering a new competitive-grant program for high school improvement that could help schools partner with businesses and postsecondary institutions.
High school graduation rates have been steadily rising, but there's a "missing middle" when it comes to the connections between postsecondary education and the workplace, Mr. Phillip Lovell (vice president for advocacy at the Alliance for Excellent Education) said.
*2071 Update–The transition was under way.  Formerly known as “schools,” then “career academies,” now career training centers.
The administration has also floated a similar, $8 billion to help community colleges partner with businesses to revamp their own training programs.       
Career Connections
Andrew Rothstein, the special adviser to the National Academy Foundation in New York City, which operates more than 500 "career academies"* across the country that offer students opportunities to gain hands-on workplace experience, sees a lot of potential in the high school improvement competition.  
Fiscal Realities Dog States
Andre Ujifusa, Education Week, Jan. 16, 2013

The best strategies to forge stronger connections between education and states’ economies during lingering budget difficulties is “the question of the day” for many states,” Delaware Gov. Jack Markell said in the first “State of the States” address on behalf of the National Governors Association ….
2071 Update – “Training pipeline”
Our research found some dissidents at the time “appalled” at this phrase. Even “school-to-work opportunities” exasperated a few. No more.  We have a seamless system now.  In 2025 the Colorado Legislature officially renamed the state’s 2,250 “school buildings,” as they were still known, Career Training Centers.  
On the issue of links between education and the workforce, [Gov. Mary] Fallin said Oklahoma lawmakers are examining the extent to which degrees and certificates match what the actual needs in the labor market are, and also trying to ensure that a high school diploma signifies that graduates have certain useful skills in the economy.  Markell asked that federal lawmakers restore the 15 percent of federal funding in the Workforce Investment Act that can be used at the discretion of states, for example, to set up a “training pipeline” between public schools and manufacturing jobs.
State of the States – summaries of annual addresses by governors - NEW HAMPSHIRE
 Gov. Maggie Hassan (D), Jan. 3, 2013

In her inaugural address at her swearing-in ceremony, Gov. Maggie Hassan noted a desire to reverse course on spending cuts affecting education over the past few years. "It hurt our young people and, if not quickly addressed, will impair our future economic prosperity," she said in prepared remarks.
Ms. Hassan, the daughter of educators and the wife of the head of Phillips Exeter Academy, a private, college-preparatory school, applauded the state's community college system for its adaptation to the needs of New Hampshire residents who choose paths other than traditional universities. "We must continue to support their efforts to build the strong workforce that our businesses need," she said.

2012

Study Pinpoints Educator-Employer Disconnects
Education to Employment: Designing a System That Works”
Sarah D. Sparks, Education Week, Dec. 12, 2012

Despite efforts to improve college and career readiness, students, educators, and employers around the world still largely exist in "parallel worlds," never really aligning the skills students learn in class with the ones they need after graduation, according to a new study by the McKinsey Center for Government. …
Effective training programs around the world had two common traits, the study found. First, educators and employers worked together with businesspeople helping to design curricula and place students in internships. Second, teachers and employers worked with students "early and intensely" to prepare them for a job.    http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2012/12/12/14report-b1.h32.html

If You’ve Got the Skills, She’s Got the Job
Thomas L. Freidman, The New York Times, Nov. 18, 2012

RACI TAPANI is not your usual C.E.O. For the last 19 years, she and her sister have been co-presidents of Wyoming Machine, a sheet metal company they inherited from their father in Stacy, Minn.
… “we solved the problem by training our own people,” said Tapani, adding that while schools are trying hard, training your own workers is often the only way for many employers to adapt to “the quick response time” demanded for “changing skills.”…
Many community colleges and universities simply can’t keep pace and teach to the new skill requirements, especially with their budgets being cut. We need a new “Race to the Top” that will hugely incentivize businesses to embed workers in universities to teach — and universities to embed professors inside businesses to learn — so we get a much better match between schooling and the job markets….
Eduardo Padrón, the president of Miami Dade College, the acclaimed pioneer in education-for-work, [stated]: “The skill shortage is real…. The big issue in America is not the fiscal deficit, but the deficit in understanding about education and the role it plays in the knowledge economy.”


Putting Brands to Work for Public Schools
Commentary, Education Week, Nov. 7, 2012
Mickey Freeman, President, and CEO of Education Funding Partners (based in Golden, Colorado)

2071 Update - The ever-growing role of businesses in schools was apparent by 2012. Happily, it never stopped.  By 2040 or 2045, men and women calling themselves “educators” were largely eliminated. We are pleased now to see our Career Training Centers are designed and run by the business community—to whom they are accountable.
Today, leading corporations have an unprecedented opportunity to shape the future of their workforces and enhance the economic security of the United States through marketing sponsorships in public school districts. The confluence of market conditions and corporate community-investment programs, along with inspired marketing initiatives, has given rise to more-sophisticated programs that allow companies to invest in areas that matter to both corporate survival and the nation's success.
It's a critical period in American education—and a strategic, well-orchestrated, and broad approach is required to support public education at its time of greatest need. http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2012/11/07/11freeman.h32.html


The Economy's New Rules: Go Glocal
Rana , Time, Aug. 20, 2012

2071 Update – The United States was indeed slow to catch up with other countries in establishing an industrial policy dependent on our K-12 Career Training Centers. But by 2030 we had made this a priority.  Today we celebrate our current status as the number one country in the world devoting the entire K-12 system to job training.
"Manufacturing is thriving in China, Germany, Sweden and Singapore only because their governments set up specific vocational institutes to prepare workers for new industries," wrote Kishore Mahbubani, head of the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy in Singapore, in a Financial Times op-ed. "China has rapidly overtaken the U.S. in green technology because of a coordinated national response, not because Chinese businesses alone invested in green technology."…
In the U.S., industrial policy remains a third-rail notion…



Aurora ‘Pathways’ students get head start
Rebecca Jones, Chalkbeat Colorado, April 27, 2012

Lt. Gov. Joe Garcia praised the district for advancing the notion of “P-20” education, shorthand for an integrated education system that extends from preschool through graduate school. In Aurora, students can start taking career pathways classes as early as elementary school.
“Colorado does have a national reputation as a leader in P-20, and Aurora is one of the leading districts in the state in demonstrating what’s possible,” he said. “Schools need to partner with the business community so we’re not just handing kids off, not knowing if they’re really prepared to be successful in the workforce.
Overhaul Proposed for Career, Tech. Ed. Program
Alyson Klein, Education Week, April 24, 2012

The largest federal program for high schools—the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education program—would get a major makeover under a proposal unveiled by the U.S. Department of Education last week. The proposal outlines the administration's vision for reauthorizing the Perkins law, which was funded at $1.14 billion in fiscal 2012. The Obama administration is seeking to ensure the program, last reauthorized in 2006, does a better job of preparing students to join the labor market. The administration also wants to boost collaboration among high school programs, postsecondary institutions, and business partners.
… The idea is to make "business and industry really feel like they have some skin in the game," said Brenda Dann-Messier, the assistant secretary for the office of vocational and adult education….
The proposal would also give states a bigger role in deciding what sort of career and technical education programs get funded, by empowering them to pinpoint "high growth" jobs and industries on which to focus Perkins dollars. And it calls for diverting 10 percent of Perkins funds to a new, competitive "innovation" fund to improve career and technical programs at the state and federal levels.
Workforce projections bill gets Hickenlooper’s signature
BizWest Staff, BizWest, April 2, 2012

DENVER – Gov. John Hickenlooper has signed into law a bill that seeks to help colleges offer courses that align with the job market.  The law will direct state agencies to report on projections of Colorado’s workforce needs. … Using the information, schools can determine what jobs are in demand and companies can learn more about educational programs. The bill could help students make informed decisions about jobs and colleges adjust to job market changes.
“I am very pleased to have this bill signed that will ensure we have an education system more in tune with the marketplace and a workforce better trained for the jobs that are in demand,” state Rep. Daniel Kagan, D-Englewood, said in a statement. “This bill will connect Coloradans with training and education for jobs in need, and that’s something that is crucial in continuing to grow Colorado’s economy.”

Johns Hopkins Forges Ed. Industry Partnership
Jason Tomassini, Education Week, March 7, 2012

The Johns Hopkins University School of Education and the Education Industry Association, a trade group, are partnering to develop curriculum, research, and business-development programs around education entrepreneurship. The goal is to help prepare the next generation of business leaders in education and improve the relationship between the public and private sectors, leaders of the two entities said.
2071 Update – Looking back we now see when universities began to transform the very purpose of “higher education.” Once that conversion took place, the K-12 system soon followed. 
"We have to leverage every sector of the [education] business,"  
Henry Smith, the executive director of the office of partnerships for educational transformation at Johns Hopkins, said in an interview. "There's a $4 billion business here that's been ignored by the education industry. We are no longer ignoring it."


Rural Students – “Designing Connections Between Science Content and Future Careers”
Diette Courrege, Report Roundup, Education Week, Feb. 1, 2012

2071 Update – Yes, research on the value of the school-to-career work was primitive back then. Still, no matter how paltry the data, such studies helped make the case: focus on jobs!
Purposeful field trips can be a good way of helping at-risk rural high school students connect the classroom to the real world, according to a new study.      
Published in the fall issue of The Rural Educator, the peer-reviewed publication of the National Rural Education Association, the study was conducted in Texas, where some high school science courses require students to be able to link the content they're learning with future jobs or training.
From a pool of 37 high school seniors in a small, rural Texas high school, the researchers focused on four low-performing students who could not make the kind of classroom-to-real-world connections required by the state. After a career-focused field trip to a nearby vocational training center, however, all four could articulate a content-career connection.

White House Panel Hammering Home Jobs, Education Ties
Alyson Klein, Education Week, Jan. 25, 2012

… a report released last week by the White House Jobs Council, a group of business and labor leaders and academics tasked with making long-term recommendations to improve the nation's economic future [made several recommendations, including:]
… providing clear performance data for all educational institutions and improving education in the stem subjects of science, technology, engineering, and math.
The recommendations may sound familiar, but come from a unique set of individuals asking a new set of questions, said Michael Parr, a senior manager of federal affairs for the DuPont Company. Its chief executive officer, Ellen Kullman, served on the commission, as did Penny Pritzker, the chairwoman of the board of TransUnion and the chairwoman and CEO of Pritzker Realty Group.
Mr. Parr said the group examined how education fits into the nation's long-term economic health. "It isn't just about whether your kid beats a kid in Finland on a math score, but whether the U.S. economy will have the tools it needs to thrive" over the long haul, he said.

U.S. Department of Education – 2012

2071 Update – Today’s U.S. Department of Workforce Development still uses this one meaningful phrase from the mission statement of the long-since eliminated Education Department.  A phrase that shows, almost 50 years, even “educators” in the nation’s capital were beginning to see the light.    
Mission
ED's mission is to promote student achievement and preparation for global competitiveness by fostering educational excellence and ensuring equal access.
https://www2.ed.gov/about/overview/mission/mission.html


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Addendum

There were dissenting voices. Over time, they were silenced. For the record, a few examples. 

From 2016

Is education's foremost mission to train the state's workforce?
Steven Fesmire, Letter to the Editor, Education Week, Jan. 20, 2016

   Is education's foremost mission to train the state's workforce? Or is it to help us improve our lives? It's the former, according to the industrial model implicit in much of the United States' current educational policies. In that model, education is just another industrial sector with the job of manufacturing skilled labor.
   Educators in the United States have yielded the driver's seat to this industrial outlook without giving it enough thought. Doing so keeps many educational leaders and policymakers from making decisions that further their own values and their students' needs.
   America's existing economic infrastructure is partially to blame for our many social, economic, environmental, and geopolitical problems. If there is cause for optimism in education, however, it is that so few people would choose an educational career that requires training students merely to fit the predetermined roles required by the status quo. Instead, we, as educators, hope our students will participate in the intelligent redirection of society.
   It is true that a healthy economy is a public good. It is equally true that this good is not served when students, educators, and policymakers treat each other chiefly as servants to the business-as-usual workaday world of adults. It serves the public good when our various professions, occupations, leisure activities, and on-the-ground pursuits are energized by educational institutions that are cultures of imagination and growth, regardless of their diverse aims and emphases.
   Every child should have the opportunity for an education that fronts growth, emotional development, imaginative engagement, aesthetic vitality, responsibility, and care. Let us hope that this idea still has the power to adjust the attitudes and practices of those determining educational policies.
Steven Fesmire, Professor of Philosophy and Environmental Studies, Green Mountain College
Poultney, Vt.

Forcing college kids to ignore the liberal arts won't help them in a competitive economy.
Steven Pearlstein, The Washington Post, Sept. 2, 2016 (excerpts)

   This focus on college as job training reflects not only a misreading of the data on jobs and pay, but also a fundamental misunderstanding of the way labor markets work, the way careers develop and the purpose of higher education….
   For me, there’s nothing more depressing than meeting incoming freshmen at Mason who have declared themselves as accounting majors. They’re 18 years old, they haven’t had a chance to take a course in Shakespeare or evolutionary biology or the history of economic thought, and already they’ve decided to devote the rest of their lives to accountancy. It’s worth remembering that at American universities, the original rationale for majors was not to train students for careers. Rather, the idea was that after a period of broad intellectual exploration, a major was supposed to give students the experience of mastering one subject, in the process developing skills such as discipline, persistence, and how to research, analyze, communicate clearly and think logically.
   As it happens, those are precisely the skills business executives still say they want from college graduates — although, to be fair, that has not always been communicated to their human-resource departments or the computers they use to sort through résumés. A study for the Association of American Colleges and Universities found that 93 percent of employers agreed that a “demonstrated capacity to think critically, communicate clearly, and solve complex problems is more important than [a job candidate’s] undergraduate major.”…
  In today’s fast-changing global economy, the most successful enterprises aren’t looking for workers who know a lot about only one thing. They are seeking employees who are nimble, curious and innovative. … The good jobs of the future will go to those who can collaborate widely, think broadly and challenge conventional wisdom—precisely the capacities that a liberal arts education is meant to develop….
  So here’s what I’d say to parents who, despite all the evidence, still believe that liberal arts majors waste four years contemplating the meaning of life: At least those passionate kids won’t make the mistake of confusing the meaning of life with maximizing lifetime income.

For the Sake of Humanity, Teach the Humanities
Liberal arts education is essential to good citizenship
Jim Haas, Commentary, Education Week, Nov. 14, 2016 (excerpts)

   Vartan Gregorian, the president of the Carnegie Corporation of New York, has spoken of liberal education as "the soul of democracy" because it prepares students to "appreciate the difference between earning a living and actually living; to cultivate more than a passing familiarity with ethics, history, science, and culture; and to perceive the tragic chasm between the world as it is and the world as it could and ought to be."
   Our hearts would sing more joyfully in a political climate tempered by the humanities with their abiding themes of constructive citizenship and commitment to the common good. As W. Taylor Revely IV, the president of Longwood University, observed to The New Yorker recently: "Over the past two generations, the idea of education being about teaching people how to engage in public affairs has been lost. At one point, the core curriculum at the college level was focused on: How do you get ready to be an active citizen in America? How do we make democracy endure? Today, education is almost exclusively thought of in terms of career preparation. That's what we've lost."
   The humanities—central to our cultural heritage—are not inborn and must be taught anew for each generation. Let's get on with it.

The big threat on campus
By Ramesh Ponnuru, Bloomberg View, Dec. 5, 2016

   Robert P. George and Cornel West, both professors at Princeton, are a political odd couple.
   For several years they have been teaching a class together — titled “Adventures in Ideas” and exploring the thought of writers from Plato and St. Augustine to John Dewey and C.S. Lewis — and holding public discussions around the country.
   A few days ago, I moderated a conversation between them at the American Enterprise Institute … on the purpose of the liberal arts.
   One thing that surprised me about our panel, though, was how little they dwelt on political correctness and how much they talked about another threat to the liberal arts: the tendency to view higher education purely in terms of its economic benefits. “Our age is an age of the celebration and valorization of wealth, power, influence, status, prestige,” George said. “Those things are not bad in themselves, but they easily and all too often become the competition for leading an examined life.”
   And it is the examined life that both George and West view as the purpose of a liberal-arts education. Its goal, that is, is to encourage critical reflection on the biggest questions; to lead us into an intellectual engagement that fulfills our nature as thinking beings; to help us achieve self-mastery; to enlarge our souls. It is, of course, possible to pursue these goals without going to college, but institutions of higher education are (or should be) dedicated to them in a special way. https://www.bloomberg.com/view/articles/2016-12-05/the-biggest-threat-on-campus

From previous years

Character-Building Beats Out Economy-Building as Goal
Catherine Gewertz, News in Brief, Education Week, Feb. 26, 2014

   … Americans rank ‘building character’ above bolstering the economy when asked to name the most important long-term goals of K-12 education.
   A survey of 6,400 voters, conducted by the advocacy group 50CAN, found that twice as many respondents chose character-building as those who chose "a healthy economy." Respondents also ranked building character above building independence and leadership, creating a lifelong love of learning, providing equal opportunities, helping people become good citizens, and providing "self-fulfillment."

The Heart of the Matter, a report of the Commission on the Humanities and Social Sciences
American Academy of Arts and Sciences, 2013 (excerpts)

   The humanities remind us where we have been and help us envision where we are going. Emphasizing critical perspective and imaginative response, the humanities—including the study of languages, literature, history, film, civics, philosophy, religion, and the arts—foster creativity, appreciation of our commonalities and our differences, and knowledge of all kinds…. We must recognize that all disciplines are essential for the inventiveness, competitiveness, security, and personal fulfillment of the American public.
   At the very moment when China and some European nations are seeking to replicate our model of broad education in the humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences—as a stimulus to innovation and a source of social cohesion—we are instead narrowing our focus and abandoning our sense of what education has been and should continue to be—our sense of what makes America great.
   We live in a world characterized by change—and therefore a world dependent on the humanities and social sciences. How do we understand and manage change if we have no notion of the past? How do we understand ourselves if we have no notion of a society, a culture, or a world different from the one in which we live? How do we ensure our security and competitiveness in the global community? A fully balanced curriculum—including the humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences—provides opportunities for integrative thinking and imagination, for creativity and discovery, and for good citizenship. The humanities and social sciences are not merely elective, nor are they elite or elitist. They go beyond the immediate and instrumental to help us understand the past and the future. They are critical to a democratic society and they require our support.

Bill Ivey's book: Handmaking America
Barry Hessenius, Barry’s Blog, Oct. 14, 2012

(Ivey) posits that education has become too much the handmaiden of business and that its purpose shouldn’t focus exclusively on preparing students for jobs (at least not all office jobs), but that “we must achieve a subtle, realistic balance between education for craftwork and education for citizenship.”  Sure to be attacked, if not vilified, as a heretic, he has the courage to discuss how education has been for some time ‘wrong footed’ in its dedication to math and science to the exclusion of other pursuits….   

College Crisis
Time Magazine, InBox, Nov. 12, 2012

As a longtime professor, I appreciated your "Reinventing College" package, with essays by Romney and Obama [Oct. 29]. Unfortunately, both missed the key point of a college education: to sharpen students' minds so they become independent thinkers. Both stressed the importance only of science and engineering to serve the needs of corporations. If we don't provide equal support for liberal arts and the humanities, who will uphold and maintain our democracy?
Winberg Chai, Professor Emeritus of Political Science, University of Wyoming, LARAMIE, WYO.

Tom Rollins Receives 2012 Philip Merrill Award
Inside Academe, vol. XVIII, No. 1, 2012-13 (American Council of Trustees and Alumni)

Mr. Rollins spoke eloquently on the importance of the liberal arts—which, he said, are about everything. “The task of undergraduate education is to pass on what, at great pain, we have learned over 3,000 years.”

When I Was a Child I Read Books
Marilynne Robinson, 2012

Lately we have been told again and again that our educators are not preparing American youth to be efficient workers. Workers. That language is so common among us now that an extraterrestrial might think we had actually lost the Cold War.
Education and the Economy – Today’s Students, Tomorrow’s Workforce?
 Another View #91  -  November 2012

   This is not the space to make the counterargument for the liberal arts.  It has been done well in Denver Post guest commentaries by Colorado College President Jill Tiefanthaler, “In defense of liberal arts education” (Oct. 24, 2011), and by the University of Denver’s Tom Farer, “Scrap liberal arts? Think again” (Oct. 21, 2012).  Or look to Stefan Collini’s recent book, What Are Universities For?, in which he asserts: “Society does not educate the next generation in order for them to contribute to its economy.” 
   I simply offer a concise statement from St. John’s College, where I earned my Master’s degree.  The Great Books Program—by many standards, the most impractical degree imaginable.  Not to me.

The best preparation for the workforce of tomorrow, for the jobs that have yet to be created, is a liberal education—the kind of education most especially found at the small residential liberal arts colleges across the country…. Graduates of the nation’s many fine liberal arts institutions are prepared not only for a diverse range of careers but for all of life’s challenges and opportunities. …  This education provides a fitting foundation for all pursuits in life.  It is of life-long value.

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