Matching Higher Education to Job Needs – Part Three

Instead of sitting idle waiting for government (both local and national) to fix education, some businesses are taking charge. By actively participating in the higher education of a student, these businesses are creating their own skilled employees.



Paul Robeson High School had failing performance scores year after year. The continued output was so poor that the New York City Department of Education decided the best action would be to slowly phase out the school. But this failure in traditional education has become a new exploration in modern education.

As concluded in Part Two of this series, businesses need to partner with educational institutions. That’s exactly what IBM decided to do, from the Wall Street Journal: “As U.S. students fall further behind global counterparts, and as companies seek skilled workers, big businesses…are taking an active, strategic role in higher education. For them, the benefit is a better-trained work force. Skills that IBM finds lacking in job applicants include writing, problem solving and working collaboratively.”

IBM has donated much more than funds to revive Paul Robeson High School; they also helped develop the coursework and selected the principal. Perhaps their biggest move is to offer graduates the first chance to work at IBM.

High schools are not the only ones benefiting from business partnerships. In Chicago, Mayor Rahm Emanuel has partnered with the City Colleges of Chicago to launch the new College to Careers program. With this new program, City Colleges will prepare students with knowledge that is specifically tailored to new careers.

What are these new careers? City Colleges have “Industry Partners” who revised and designed coursework and facilities to fit their new needs. These partners will, much like IBM above, also give graduates the chance to work in a variety of fields spanning from logistics to hospitality, and most everything in between.

These two examples demonstrate a few ways that businesses have decided to update an educational system that provides general information with little direction. Actively shaping curriculum is a good start to solving the crisis in higher education, and in Part Four we will discuss just how to satisfy the need for high skill workers.

Questions? Talk with an Advisor