Sunday, July 18, 2010

Education Supply & Employer Demand

The US Military trains all of its soldiers. I can't think of any other employer, at least in the US, that does this. When the military is having difficulty recruiting for certain positions, they offer cash bonuses to the recruits. The more in demand a skill, the higher the bonus.

When it comes to preparing students for going to college, there isn't system of supply and demand. There may be a need for X graduates per year in computer science, but there is no mechanism to getting the right number of people into computer science programs. There also isn't a system that ensures students are getting the kind of education that will help them in the real world upon graduation.

Isn't it time to steer students toward educations that will benefit them? Giving a clueless 18 year old guaranteed access to student loans and the ability to pick any major to study seems a little silly to me. How about only guaranteeing student loans for majors that have been identified as being in demand? Even better, make the education cheap (or free!)

1 comment:

  1. Interesting point you raise. I am a well trained technology professional (pre-dotcom era) and was standing in the way of piles of money being thrown at me for my expertise with web, telecom and datacom systems. My brother was a well trained, poorly paid nurse because there was an oversupply at the time.

    Fast forward 8+ years and the roles have reversed. My (former) industry is now comprised of a bunch of untrained, poorly paid kids pushing all-in-one commodity boxes and my brother is making great money because all of the underpaid nurses got out of the field and people stopped going to school for it.

    You can't predict what the next big thing will be 4-8-12 years down the road. By the time you even finish a degree in most fields, industry demand could have moved on to the next big thing.