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The Changing World of Work: What Should We Ask of Higher Education? (NIFI Issue Guide)

This 11-page Issue Guide from the National Issues Forums Institute, The Changing World of Work: What Should We Ask of Higher Education?, was published January 2015 to help inform participants in deliberation about the current state and future of higher education.

From the guide…

There is a pervasive anxiety in America about the future of higher education. Spiraling costs combined with seismic changes in the American workplace raise questions about whether a bachelor’s degree is still worth the cost. In a recent cover story, Newsweek magazine asked: “Is College a Lousy Investment?” For a growing number of Americans, the answer appears to be yes.

Today’s students accumulate an average of almost $30,000 in debt by the time they graduate. They will go into a job market that looks especially bleak for young people. Many college graduates are unemployed or working minimum-wage jobs. Still more are working in jobs that don’t require a college credential.

Some of the troubles facing new graduates can be attributed to the post-recession economy. But there are larger forces at work that are transforming the nature of employment in America—forces that colleges and universities have been slow to recognize, much less respond to.

The Issue Guide presents three options for deliberation:

Option One: “Prepare Students for the Job Market”NIF-Changing-World-of-Work
Colleges and universities should tailor their programs to the real needs of employers and direct more of their educational resources toward vocational and pre-professional training.

Option Two: “Educate for Leadership and Change”
Academic institutions should focus on preparing students to become effective citizen leaders—the men and women who will go on to create the jobs of the future, effect change, and build a better society.

Option Three: “Build Strong Communities”
Colleges and universities should harness their power to create jobs, generate business opportunities, provide essential skills, and drive development in their communities and in the region.

More about the NIFI Issue Guides
NIFI’s Issue Guides introduce participants to several choices or approaches to consider. Rather than conforming to any single public proposal, each choice reflects widely held concerns and principles. Panels of experts review manuscripts to make sure the choices are presented accurately and fairly. By intention, Issue Guides do not identify individuals or organizations with partisan labels, such as Democratic, Republican, conservative, or liberal. The goal is to present ideas in a fresh way that encourages readers to judge them on their merit.

Issue Guides are generally available in print or PDF download for a small fee ($2 to $4). All NIFI Issue Guides and associated tools can be accessed at www.nifi.org/en/issue-guides

Follow on Twitter: @NIForums.

Resource Link: www.nifi.org/en/issue-guide/changing-world-work

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