Sunday, November 17

Preparing Students for the Future of Work


by Chris Mayer

Preparing students for the workforce must be part of the core mission of colleges and universities, especially in an era when the nature of work is rapidly changing. Curricular and pedagogical changes, as well as stronger connections to alumni and employers, can help colleges and universities achieve this part of their missions. This article explores four key components of preparing students for their future workplaces:

  • Skills
  • Curricula
  • Pedagogy
  • Employer and alumni engagement

Colleges and universities must do more than provide students access. They have a responsibility to help students succeed, and this responsibility includes preparing students to find meaningful work and lead fulfilling lives. The responsibility for student success after graduation, specifically in the area of employment, is occasionally met with resistance by some who worry about reducing higher education to vocational training. While it is true that higher education—especially undergraduate education—is more than preparation for work, there are several factors that support the inclusion of workforce preparation as part of an institution’s mission: the crippling burden of debt from student loans, students’ desire to find meaningful work, and the needs of employers.

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