A Year of College for All: What the President’s Plan Would Mean for the Country – Chronicle.com

A Year of College for All: What the President’s Plan Would Mean for the Country – Chronicle.com

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Wow(!), I have so many thoughts provoked by this article that are seemingly stampeding to get out of my head, that I’m experiencing a very typical “synaptic traffic jam” in trying to get them all into this post. Let me see if I can alleviate some of the gridlock.

“They need a job and they need it quickly,” says Jeannie Tighe, who got a surgical-technology certificate four years ago at age 44 and now teaches in the Community College of Baltimore County’s surgical-technology program. “They don’t have two years.”

With attitudes like these, are we starting to confuse education with training?

“To suggest that every kid have a year of postsecondary education isn’t realistic and it isn’t necessary for all kids to get a job,” says Dennis Redovich, executive director of the Center for the Study of Jobs and Education in Wisconsin and the United States. “The fact of the matter is that a majority of jobs require short-term, on-the-job training.”

And is this sort of attitude dooming some people to work in low-paying, service oriented jobs for the entirety of the time they spend in the American workforce? After all, “the world still needs ditch diggers.”

It seems that President Obama’s goal of education for all is a bit of a mixed bag, but it encourages me to, in turn, encourage students I counsel to consider what their goals are. If training and a certificate will equip you for your version of success, great. If, however, your personal “American Dream” isn’t going to be supported by the kind of job you’ll land with that level of education, you should re-think your decision with the following chart in mind:


Now, I’m aware of and the first one to remind students of the fact that no diploma guarantees employment. This is one of the reasons why I encourage students not to confused “education” with “training.” Also consider the difficulty in forecasting what a job market is going to look like at the end of your educational career. If, for example, you thought investment banking would be a great career and started down that path four years ago, where would a “training-focused” degree program have landed you in the current economy? At the mercy of that field’s job market.

I’m not trying to proffer my observations in such a way as to suggest I have all the answers–quite the opposite, actually. I’m suggesting you answer these questions for yourself from an educated point of view.


About Art

I've been a higher education professional for over 15 years and an Academic Advising administrator for the past eight of those. I have a background in exploratory student advising and have spent a great deal of time guiding students through contemplating their personal college-to-career pathways. I've published, presented, and consulted on the intersection of social media and academia and am a firm believer in social media's power as a tool for engagement rather than solely information delivery. I've worked at public and private institutions as well as 2-year colleges and 4-year universities. I believe in Academic Advising as a teaching and learning activity, that learner-centered education is the key to students' academic success, and that as long as we keep students' individual goals and success at the center of our decision-making process, the problem of college-level student attrition can be solved.
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One Response to A Year of College for All: What the President’s Plan Would Mean for the Country – Chronicle.com

  1. Twin XL says:

    I liked the graph- I think it’s really easy to read and understand. Thanks for posting.


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