It’s broadly understood that a college degree or its equivalent is crucial to making it into the middle class in America. But getting those qualifications can be a risky process for many young Americans from a modest income background. Indeed, just 9 percent of young people from the lowest income quartile will ever earn a college degree. But even completing a degree does not necessarily mean a graduate will receive the skills they need to succeed in today’s workforce. That’s because of a profound disconnect between many college administrators and recruiters for business about what is needed. Just 11 percent of business leaders believe college graduates are properly equipped for entering the workforce – while 96 percent of college’s chief academic officers feel they turn out work-ready graduates.
There are trends in higher education, however, that point to closer links between business and higher education – trends that will make degrees more affordable as well as better aligned with needed workforce skills. And with a businessman about to enter the White House, expect these trends to get a boost from Washington.