A Closer Look

Changing Curriculum – We’re kind of stuck. We have to unstick that

Beth Cobert: Our work involves engaging employers with community colleges and other training resources in ways that can shape things at a pace that fits with what business needs, as opposed to a more traditional academic cycle of semesters.

Today, changing your curriculum really fast means you did it in two years. The employers say, “Well, that’s great, but I need it now.” We’re starting to see that happen.

We had done some work building a skills-based job curriculum based on what would prepare you for a reasonable entry-level job in a certain industry that would be a good jumping-off point for what could be a great career but that wouldn’t require a bachelor’s degree. Unbeknownst to us, a professor at one of the local community colleges in Colorado took the curriculum and said, “I teach about three-quarters of what you have in your curriculum. I describe it in somewhat different terms—I’m just going change my class.” So she rewrote her curriculum, got it reaccredited, and was done in a semester. And there it was, a class that actually met what employers want. So that’s great initiative. We’d love to scale that. We can’t quite clone her, but we’re working on it.

Bror Saxberg: I’ll tell you a funny story about why we struggle. I went back to the electrical-engineering department at one of my alma maters and was talking with them about how they were doing. They said, “As a state university, we want to provide more electrical engineers for our state. But we have two problems. First, we are all academic electrical engineers; we don’t know what our graduates do at this thing called work. I said, “That’s a problem, because you’re supposed to be training people. What’s the second problem?” They said, “Well, we have no idea how to reward any one of us who chooses to solve the first problem, because none of that work is publishable in any of the journals that we use to meet tenure-track criteria. We’re kind of stuck.” We have to unstick that.

Chosen excerpts by Job Market Monitor. Read the whole story @ Boosting accessibility in job retraining | McKinsey

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