Colleges should add work-related classes to the curriculum


Mohamed Hassan | Pxhere

The current job economy is rocky, meaning that college students’ post-graduation prospects are bleak. Colleges should respond by creating courses designed to help students learn basic workplace skills to increase their chances of landing a job straight out of school.

By mandating classes that teach skills such as networking and connection building, schools can better prepare students for their professional careers.

Research carried out by the Carnegie Institute of Technology indicates that 85% of a person’s career success is due to skills in “human engineering,” or communication and negotiation skills.

The remaining 15% is attributed to technical knowledge that’s based on a candidate’s hard skills, usually taught in academic settings.

While employers seek transferable skills in their internship hirings, many job postings require a minimum level of experience. This imbalance makes it difficult for college students to find internships during their academic careers.

The Harvard Business Review reveals that two-thirds of all American job postings require at least a bachelor’s or associate degree, eliminating career paths for millions of individuals that didn’t have the resources to finish their degrees.

This creates an impasse for students that want to work, but don’t have enough experience/education to land a job.

HBR suggested online certifications and early educational pathways as a solution for young professionals seeking skills necessary to perform well in a work setting.

Technology corporation IBM founded Pathways in Technology Early College High School, a technical high school in Brooklyn, NY, to try to reconcile with this impasse. Students of P-TECH are trained in STEM topics with the goal of honing skills for their professional careers.

Similarly, Google recently announced new certificate programs and job search experiences aimed at finding roles that match candidates’ experience and education.

Employers believe that colleges are doing a poor job of preparing graduates for a position at their company. According to The Hechinger Report, a measly 11% of business leaders believed that current college graduates were prepared to enter the workforce.

The National Association of Colleges and Employers found that employers rated current college graduates as having high rates of teamwork digital technology. However, they lacked in areas like career management, intercultural fluency and leadership.

The survey also found that only 41.6% of employers rated recent graduates oral and written communication skills as proficient. A college course that builds these students’ professional skill sets can increase this percentage.

College students are engaged in the majors they choose and want to expand their knowledge and skill sets without spending time and money on unnecessary classes.

College professors and officials should get together to discuss how their classes can align to employer demands and the skills required in job environments. For example, if employers ask for Microsoft Excel proficiency and Adobe designing skills, communications courses should add assignments that include the use of these systems.

Colleges need to design classes around what can benefit the student’s aspiring skill set because it will set them up for professional success post-graduation.