When Zaldwaynaka “Z” Scott became president of Chicago State University in 2018, things were in pretty dire straits: The state budget had been slashed, operations rolled back, and the university had gone years without permanent leadership.
Millie Garcia understands the needs of first-generation college students because she was one. Now, as president of the American Association of State Colleges and Universities, Millie advocates for students just like herself — a group she calls "the new majority" (low-income students, first-generation students, and students of color). She shares what she’s learned about the importance of diversifying higher ed, from students and faculty to the highest leadership positions on campus.
Americans are quitting their jobs at unprecedented rates, leaving millions of job openings and no one to fill them. The Great Resignation is likely motivated, at least in part, by the pandemic. But this trend speaks to a broader disconnect between employer needs and employee wants — a trend that’s been worsening for years now. Michele Chang, from the U.S. Department of Commerce, explains what the federal government is doing to help workers and employers address this.
We know a college degree is required for many jobs in the United States. Yet nearly two-thirds of Americans never earn a degree. Google’s Lisa Gevelber, chief marketing officer for the corporation’s Americas region, says short-term credential programs could be the key to improving career opportunities for more people — and they might even create a more equitable labor market in the process.
Is the so-called “student debt crisis” really a crisis? Author Beth Akers brings an economist’s view of postsecondary education’s return on investment and says, on average, college is still worth the price — if you do it right.
A college or university can be deemed a "Hispanic Serving Institution" if at least a quarter of its students are Latino. But Deborah Santiago, co-founder and CEO of Excelencia in Education, says serving Latino students is about more than just enrolling them. It’s about supporting their journey through college graduation and into the workforce. Deborah and I discuss the Seal of Excelencia, and along the way we learn about her own journey growing up in a military family and pursuing her education as a first-generation college student.
Most people agree we need to improve economic mobility in this country. How to do that is another question entirely. Join Strada Education Network’s Ruth Watkins as she talks to educators, employers, and innovators about their best ideas for the future of education and work.
Growing up in San Francisco, Ebony Beckwith attended an academically selective high school where most of her classmates were university-bound. She opted for a different path, heading directly into the workforce while winding through several community colleges before realizing she needed that four-year degree to reach her career goals.
Gerald Chertavian believes every young adult has potential and deserves a clear pathway to a great career, whether through college or directly into the workforce. And as founder and CEO of Year Up, he’s proving that with the appropriate training and employer support, it can take as little as one year for “opportunity youth” — 16- to 24-year-olds who are neither working nor in school — to move from poverty to a well-paid, in-demand career, often with a Fortune 500 company.
There’s no shortage of big, ambitious ideas for creating an education-workforce system that improves upward mobility for more people. Harvard education economist David Deming uses hard data to stress test those ideas and see what might work, and what probably won’t. We talk to him about what he’s learning and what he recommends we do right now to improve the value of education for an increasingly diverse workforce.
Historically, the path to a college degree and upward mobility for Black students usually led through a Black college or university. Even today, with mainstream institutions welcoming many more racially diverse students, HBCUs remain a driving force in launching Black leaders, including Vice President Kamala Harris, a graduate of Howard University. To find out what HBCUs can teach the rest of higher ed about student success, we sit down with Reynold Verret, the child of Haitian political refugees who grew up to become president of Xavier University of Louisiana, a small HBCU that is the nation’s No. 1 producer of future Black doctors.
In the not-so-distant future, workers will make dozens of career changes over a working life of 75 or even 100 years. Michelle Weise, an expert on the future of work and author of “Long Life Learning,” says human skills like communication, creativity, and teamwork will remain critical in an era when robots and automation take over routine jobs. What’s more, workers increasingly will need to learn new skills rather than assuming a degree early in life will carry them through.