Does Business Support Higher Education?

, Malcolm A. Kline, Leave a comment

The Association of American Colleges & Universities (AACU) is touting a survey it conducted as proof that businesses feel better about higher education in the United States than the American public at large, but you don’t have to go very far inside the report they issued to discover that perhaps they should use it as a teachable moment for themselves.

“Both executives and hiring managers express a higher degree of confidence in colleges and universities than does the American public,” the AACU states. “They also agree upon the value of college and believe that it is both important and worth the investment of time and money.”

Indeed, the survey shows the results of interviews of “501 business executives at private sector and nonprofit organizations and another of 500 hiring managers.” Yet and still, what the study reveals should give cause for concern among the actual customers of higher education—parents and students:

~ “Among the college learning outcomes tested, both executives and hiring managers place the highest importance on the ability to communicate orally, but only 40% of executives and 47% of hiring managers rate recent college graduates as well prepared in this area.”

~ “Both audiences value applied experiences and real-world skills, but only 33% of executives and 39% of hiring managers think that recent graduates are very well prepared to apply knowledge and skills to real-world settings.”

It it noteworthy that young people are left out of the decrease in unemployment and increase in labor force participation that President Trump never fails to mention and the media ignores. “The labor force participation rate for all youth was 60.6 percent in July, unchanged from a year earlier,” according to the U. S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). “(The labor force participation rate is the proportion of the civilian noninstitutional population that is working or looking and available for work.)”

Interestingly, the BLS also notes that “The summer youth labor force participation rate peaked at 77.5 percent in July 1989.”