Business Focuses on Higher Education

You hear it every day on the news: there are jobs out there, but few who apply are qualified to fill the position. You might even hear it enough to think that it’s just a news hook, but according to GE’s annual Innovation Barometer, it appears to be true, because business is getting behind higher education in a big way.

The report, which focused on 25 key countries, surveyed 3,000 C-level executives and found that business leaders highlighted higher education as one of their top policy concerns. Digging deeper, you’ll see that improving education beat out other valuable business ideas, including fighting bureaucracy and protecting IP.

So what does this mean? It means business doesn’t want current education to leave students smarter; they want higher education to leave students ready for working in the real world. They want higher education to encourage entrepreneurship and shift curricula to better prepare students for jobs. They want partnerships to happen with professionals, and to leverage them to better prepare students for life outside of school.

This opinion is reflected in how, globally speaking, most businesses have a lower confidence in general education. The United States, however, feels the opposite, showing great interest in its potential. Interesting programs have already started to show the merging of business and higher education, most often through technology. For example, IBM now has Pathways in Technology Early College High School (P-Tech), a six-year computer-science related high school that offers graduates the chance to apply for IBM jobs. Additionally, Microsoft backs the Philadelphia School of the Future and works with high school students in Seattle to teach them computer science.

So what do you think? Should business start influencing education? Or should higher education be allowed to operate completely free of business?

Written by: Travis Taggart
Travis is a regular contributor to the Ashford University blog.

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