An Unconventional Program: College for Careers:
Here we proposing a radical idea for American Colleges and Universities to consider, hoping that you are open-minded and willing to act “ outside the box “.
Admittedly, we are starting with a certain assumptions. Many American Collages and Universities, particularly, those which are wedded to the 20th century liberal arts education philosophy and known for their strong liberal arts programs, may have a problem. Their brand is good and many students are eager to get a degree from such institutions. However, they are graduating thousands of students in traditional liberal arts subjects such as English literature, History, Anthropology, Psychology, Sociology and the like, but, very many of those graduates are finding it hard to get good jobs with their liberal arts or science degrees, in the increasingly techno-centric job market. At the same time, American firms, both in the service and manufacturing sectors, are looking for skilled and qualified workers to hire. Apparently, there is a mismatch in supply and demand. This has become a national crisis.
Recognizing this, even cities like Chicago is offering financial incentives to local colleges, to initiate special programs to remedy this situation (ref: Wall Street Journal, Dec.19, 20011) calling it “Colleges for Careers”. Many industries are also pressing for remedial efforts.
Luckily, there are solutions and they are not hard to implement. In a small way, we can assist interested colleges to develop a suitable solution. It is rather simple. Those liberal arts or science students can go to India where they can get required technical skills along with technical certifications by providing them fast track special training under well recognized Indian collages. It will be a three to six moths training along with appropriate internship and industry exposure. These IT focused education can be offered while the students are still in the liberal arts program at the college.
Let us face it. It is not an accident that thousands of jobs have migrated to India and China. Outsourcing has become easy and acceptable (though politically it is looked down) for American companies. Overseas, they employ educated, English speaking trained and talented young, at lower cost than what such employees would have cost them in America. With internet and easy travel, moving jobs abroad has become a corporate strategy. Of late even lawyers and doctors are shifting a part of their work abroad. In short, outsourcing has become a present day reality and acceptable.
The question here is why not American Colleges and Universities also follow the industry model in special circumstances- out sourcing part of the education abroad.
The cost of such training will be 25-30% less that what it will cost students for studying a similar period in America.The savings can be passed on to the students as scholarships or financial aid and this will a great incentive for the students to go. They get international experience and gain confidence, skills and world view to succeed in the global economy. Often, it is the institutional inflexibility which will stand in the way of charting new course for global education.