This article comes from the Campus Contributor Network. Over the course of the semester, students from across our campus outreach program will analyze their school’s finances and assess the overall return students see on their educational investments.
Throughout the semester, we’ve investigated the university budget and tuition pricing, student debt statistics and post-graduate outcomes to determine whether or not investing in a college degree still provides worthwhile returns. What we’ve found is that while the answer may still be, “Yes, it does,” the professional world is changing, demanding of us new skills that match the needs of evolving businesses. As this change occurs, it’s up to the nation’s colleges and universities to keep up and provide the modern education we need to succeed.
Why stay in school?
At Florida State, for example, the average borrower graduates with $26,000 in debt. It makes sense that some choose to opt out of going to college so they can save that money and begin their career. However, while it saves money in the short-term, skipping college can come back to bite you in one very significant way: higher unemployment rates.
People who have received at Bachelor’s degree or higher are statistically more employable. According to our friends at the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the unemployment rate for Bachelor’s recipients is 2.8 percent, while that number jumps up to 5.4 percent for those with only a high school degree. If you need more evidence, the lifetime earnings ratio for college grads is 66 percent higher than that of a high school grad.
It isn’t just about earnings, but also about for whom these jobs are being created. A recent Georgetown University study found that an impressive 8.4 million (yes, million) jobs created after the recession were given to those with Bachelor’s degrees.
What employers want
The thing is, simply having a degree isn’t necessarily good enough anymore. Employers are looking for their workers to have a very specific, yet diverse, set of skills.
First and foremost, you need be able to talk to people! No sarcasm here, readers. According to a 2015 survey from the National Association of Colleges and Employers, roughly 70 percent of employers look for strong written and verbal communication skills. The ability to work in a team, as well as the ability to lead – two skills that rely heavily on solid communication – were the top two ranking attributes. On the other hand, analytical skills and computer skills were valued by 63 and 55 percent of employers, respectively.
FSU students get most of their workforce grooming via our career center. The career center offers resume-building workshops, mock interviews and job fairs galore. They also keep alumni contact information so students can connect with their fellow Nole for advice on breaking into their respective industry.
Mind the gap
Despite all of this, there is something missing. Sure, a Bachelor’s degree provides valuable experience while often exposing students to certain skills, but the same skills are not guaranteed for all majors. An arts major has less exposure to computer programming languages than a STEM major, while comparatively, STEM majors focus much less time on developing their communication skills.
How do we remedy this?
Starting February of 2017, GenFKD is launching a program at Colorado State University that aims to offer a more dynamic college experience. This new program will arm students with effective communication and critical thinking skills, as well as providing them with a crash course in tech fluency. In order to best prepare students for the world after graduation, we must rethink the way we tackle education.
Article originally published at GenFKD.org.