Improving Workforce Success Among America’s College Students

from Brookings

As the presidential campaign of 2020 kicks into high gear, the stagnation of worker earnings in recent decades has drawn much attention and comment from the candidates. Yet, outside of advocating for a few trendy proposals like free college, the candidates have said little to date on how to improve education and skills, especially those that are highly rewarded in the US labor market, among the roughly two-thirds of Americans who do not attain BAs. The candidates’ relative silence is especially noteworthy in a year when both the Higher Education Act (HEA) and the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) are up for reauthorization, and at a time when fairly tight labor markets make it harder for employers to find and retain the skilled workers they need.

What are the problems and barriers that keep students from gaining the skills that the US labor market rewards? Aside from affordability, students at America’s community colleges get too little support and guidance about what they can realistically achieve in college and what the labor market rewards; too many students wander aimlessly, taking liberal arts classes in the hope of transferring to 4-year schools, while not completing a meaningful credential there. The colleges themselves cannot afford to provide more supports or scale their occupational programs in high-demand fields like health care and IT, but they also face too few incentives to do so – since such programs are expensive, and college funding is rarely tied to better future employment outcomes of students. Employers engage too little with these institutions, thus making it hard to scale successful partnerships in high-demand economic sectors that provide classroom training or work-based learning (like apprenticeships). And students at the for-profit institutions either fail to complete programs, or earn credentials with low market value, while racking up high debts and frequently defaulting on their loans.

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30 Comments

  1. There have been instances that going to college and obtaining a degree is not enough as students are left helpless and jobless after they graduate. The article by Holzer was a very interesting read and is true that the workforce of graduating students needs to be better and many people do not realize this. As the battle for the 2020 President Campaign is in full pursuit there has been very little discussion on college and the lift after college for these students. It is very difficult for the labor markets to get workers and even find these workers with the right skills. It was shown that students who attend these community colleges are not getting enough support and guidance from their schools about the opportunities and potential achievements they can actually accomplish. I believe the students are not getting enough support and the other half is at the fault of the student because they do not have a plan and take enough action on themselves to make it happen. College students do not take enough self action and I feel like they expect everything to happen for them, applying to internship, receiving jobs after school, landing a good job is just going to happen once they graduate. Students need to understand that college is a stepping stone to a potential better life and can get you to reach the goals one sets out for themselves. As Holtzer stated “too many students wander aimlessly, taking liberal arts classes in the hope of transferring to 4-year schools, while not completing a meaningful credential there”
    But community colleges do not give their students the support they deserve and need in order to be successful. Employees need to better engage with their students and show them that if they put in the hardwork and try in college it will only help them down the line in their own life. The other problem is students are taking in many student loans from these high paying colleges and if they don’t have a degree that is beneficial in society today they are stuck with $100,000 plus in debt and a degree that will struggle to get them money. Students need to be educated on what schools are best for them and the job they want after school to see if it is worth getting a degree from a certain school. For example, if I want to open up a barber shop, I should receive the proper schooling instead of wasting 4 years at a University that will get me a degree that will be no use to me.
    I totally agree with the solutions to try and help these students at community colleges and the workers without BA’s. “1) Providing more supports and especially career guidance for students; 2) Providing more resources to the community colleges while strengthening their incentives to respond to labor market demand; 3) Engaging more employers in partnerships with community colleges to expand occupational education and work-based learning; and 4) Maintaining and strengthening regulations in the for-profit sector.” Holzer reasoning here is very ideal and realistic and provides major benefit to these future employees of the workforce. It all starts with the support system and finding the right people to guide these students in the right direction. I like the idea of partnerships with the community colleges. I feel like students shy away from attending community college because of the name “community college” but if there was more enforcement and showed all the great benefits community colleges offered there could be alot more students who attend and achieve success. Community colleges need more help from the state and cannot expect to be successful on their own. Community colleges need resources from the State the way the big state schools get help like Rutgers University in New Jersey. Having incentives for these colleges is huge. Incentives always make people work harder and do more to reach that benefit whether it be more pay or even a reward. The incentives cannot be poorly ‘designed’ that schools skew admissions and lessen the graduation standards because that does not help the school and more importantly the students.
    I am very curious to see what will happen in the 2020 election and what the future President will do about education in America. The College Affordability Act makes major sense to have in America and benefit many students and give them the opportunity to thrive in the workforce after school. The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act are up for changing and if changed correctly can tremendously impact students in the workforce. The state needs to be more involved with all the schools in America as the future leaders and workers in America are only 4 years of school from impacting this great Country we live in. It is going to take the initiative of the students and the supporting cast of colleges to improve the overall workforce in America.

  2. The workforce has evolved throughout the years and now it is more common for people to graduate from college and not have a job. The workforce as becoming a super competitive battleground where you need to stand out to receive and maintain a job today. The article by Holzer was interesting in his thought on how to improve college students in the workforce. It is a multi-step plan and could work if it is put into effect.
    The plan that Holzer put together started with “Providing more supports and especially career guidance for students”. He believes that kids that attend community colleges do not receive enough focus on what they can achieve and that they receive very little guidance for their future endeavors. He believes that “There can be no doubt that community colleges need more resources from states to provide a range of supports for students, and that such funding improves outcomes there.” Community college students need to be offered more support systems if they want to achieve it. Next, he would want to, “Provide more resources to the community colleges while strengthening their incentives to respond to labor market demand and to Engage more employers in partnerships with community colleges to expand occupational education and work-based learning”. He believes that not enough community college graduates get the same opportunities as some 4-year colleges. I understand why he wants this for community colleges, but there are differences between the two. Of course, a 4-year university will give you better opportunities than a community college, so I think this part of his plan would be asking too much from community colleges to offer. To finish off his plan he would like to, “Maintain and strengthen regulations in the for-profit sector.” He believes some schools are just for the money and profit and they are not there for the kids’ benefit.
    I am interested to see what happens in the future for the betterment of the education system. With the 2020 election coming up and seeing what the candidates have to offer could get the ball spinning on change. I’ve heard some talks of free college and all I’m saying is we should just give it a test run for the next 4-5 years and see how things go, it cannot be that bad.

  3. As kids, we all dream of growing up. It ranges from the idea of finding our significant others to the idea of attaining that one great job. However, what if we were never properly prepared for what that job entailed and or expected? In this article, the main focus was on the problems and barriers that students face as well as the proper avenues that could be taken to improve workforce success within college communities. While there were aspects that I didn’t necessarily agree with, there were a couple of arguments that really caught my attention. The author, Holzer, emphasized the importance of “engaging more employers in partnerships with the community colleges to expand occupational education and work-based learning”. Not only is this vital in order for students to get a sense of how that specific field operates, it is also necessary when considering whether or not the field is the perfect fit for you.
    Personally as someone who attends a private university, I have been fortunate to have had first hand experience on the impact this simple resource can have in the lives of students. The exposure has really given me more confidence and comfort in knowing that I am now familiarized with the countless firm’s expectations. Furthermore, I have been able to come up with standards that I am looking for within a firm. Through my experience, I fully am able to understand how important preparation is when it plays into the workforce. It is crucial that the same opportunities are given to each student regardless of where they attain their education.The last thing that students want is to go through their college careers, accumulating debt, and choosing a field that they then come to realize they regret. Let approach more of an even playing-field, giving everyone the opportunity of move up and prospers.

  4. What you do in college can create a drastic difference in your life afterward, whether it is the major that you decide, the classes you take, and the internships that you do. All of these factors lead to the type of experience that you will have in your career after college, but none of these are guaranteed. As the article discusses many of the community colleges are underfunded and do not create a great environment for their students to be fully prepared for either a 4-year university or the workforce. This is because they mostly offer general education classes which don’t give students the opportunities to experience to take classes that are relevant to their interests or to what is applicable to the real world. The article argues that this part of education is overlooked and should be better funded so more students will have access to a more realistic education. For me I have always had the opportunity to get a private 4-year education because of my family and my grades when I was in high school. Unfortunately for some they do not have the same opportunities that I was afforded in my life. I know that the education that I am receiving already gives me a leg up in the work force because of the education that I am receiving, the alumni network that the school has and the available internship opportunities that I have because of that. Another thing that goes with that though as the article discusses is what people do with their education at such universities. I agree that certain major do not afford the same after college luxuries that other major’s afford, which is why I believe that prospective students should do a lot more research into their majors so that they have the greatest ability to succeed after college.

  5. I think that for community colleges they could use some more funding, but in the end college is what you make it. As a student I think that to really achieve something out of the institution that you attend you need to do the research on what has the most lee way to go into different fields. Of course asking an 18 year old kid what he wants to do with the rest of their life is an absurd question, but then again some people already know for sure . Today I feel that a college education is forced from the moment we enter school. There has been less emphasis on blue collar jobs despite them also having returns on investment. The schools are not cheep, despite the more financially viable option of a community college into a four year school saves some money. The problems raised in this article is the reality of today. With more people going into college in order to come out and make more money just because they have a degree is not financially smart. As a first generation student myself I understand first hand the realities of trying to pay for a four year institution. Loans aren’t easy and fun to think about, but the idea to have more funding into the colligate systems are a nice idea. The question becomes how can these schools get the money for this funding and who can have it. Yes the article does say there should be an incentive for schools to gain this funding but where would the money come from? Would it be from the tax payers? Look of course, on an extreme level, the idea of free college is nice but in the end where would the money come from. In the end a college is a business, they provide a service for money. Should there be more partnerships with colleges with business or enterprises with schools, of course without a question. Should there be the same partnerships with every college, I don’t know. If a student who comes from a community college they should have the same chances as every other student but the sad truth is they don’t. I argue though that if they want it bad enough they will put in whatever it takes to get to where they want to be. When it comes to other aspects of this article, yes I think when it comes to the need for there to be more support with schools making it more helpful to the students who deserve it. Plus I think what ever degree you get in college does not determine the job you will have. An example of this would be majoring in music and go into a medical school. Once more going back to making the most of college, just because you have a degree in x does not mean the job you get needs the degree or you will get that said job.

  6. What sparked my mind after reading Holzer’s article was that going to college does not promise you a career. Going to college just provides the opportunity to potentially have a career. There is a huge difference between the two. Holzer brings up great points when discussing problem of college students lack of workforce success when he states, “…since such programs are expensive, and college funding is rarely tied to better future employment outcomes of students. Employers engage too little with these institutions, thus making it hard to scale successful partnerships in high-demand” and also, “and at a time when fairly tight labor markets make it harder for employers to find and retain the skilled workers they need.” Both of these ideas of there being a lack of skill, lack of opportunity because of funding, and lack of employer involvement in schools are all great points. But I think there is another issue that Holzer didn’t talk about in his writing.
    Another one of the major issues in the success rate being so low in college student, is that some jobs are requiring the experience of a 30 year old professional. I understand that jobs want the most qualified people for their jobs but after a while, many people just give up or just settle for a job that they can qualify for. If jobs made their experience requirement a little less strict while still choosing a qualified person, I do not see why the college workforce success wouldn’t increase. Also something to think about is that, I could have went to college and cheated my way through and obtained a degree. Compared to someone who tried their best in obtaining an associates degree I’m more valuable than them on paper but in reality they may offer
    Lastly, Holzer made a great point of recognizing in this presidential election , “outside of advocating for a few trendy proposals like free college, the candidates have said little to date on how to improve education and skills, especially those that are highly rewarded in the US labor market,” which brings up the fact that this issue isn’t as important because people aren’t discussing it enough. Evidence from the past shows that when an abundance of people abandon of for an issue things get done, and I think that needs to happen today.

  7. In his article on improving workforce success of American college students, Harry Holzer makes some very interesting points about the ways in which we can ensure increased skills from college students entering the workplace. Holzer acknowledges that there are certain barriers in our current higher education system that prevent students from having success after graduating. One of these barriers is the lack of resources given to local community colleges. Many times these community colleges are not able to have the kinds of recruiting events that larger, for-profit schools have. They also may simply not have the faculty and programs to teach the skills necessary for success to the students. I think it is very clear that we need to increase the funding and resources granted to community colleges. Many kids across the nation are not able to afford for-profit, large universities and must result to community college. These community colleges need to be well-equipped to prepare students for the workforce so that they don’t have such a clear disadvantage when competing with students with degrees from larger schools.
    Holzer also brings up the point that we are on the brink of a presidential election and that the candidates have been saying very little about this subject. Some have brought up ideas of “free college” or the elimination of student debt, but none have stated how they would solve this particular issue about unprepared and unskilled college students. It is critical that this issue begins to be talked about as it affects so many recently graduated students. In addition, the possible solutions to this issue are much more feasible and realistic than something like free college or the cancelling of student debt.
    I believe that a large part of the success of a recent graduate is up to them. They have the ability to determine their success in the workforce through their work ethic and what they accomplished while in school. Although, it becomes incredibly hard to do this when the school you are attending is not receiving the resources it needs to aid you on this path. Holzer brings up a great point about the need to increase funding for community colleges and encourage employers to create work opportunities for these students. I hope this issue receives more national attention and is addressed in the upcoming presidential election.

  8. Harry J. Holzer makes some valid points in his article “Improving Workforce Success Among America’s College Students.” He talked about how students in community college get little guidance in support about what is achievable in college and what the job market rewards. While everyone is entitled to their own opinion, I do not know if his, in my opinion is correct. I believe students who have the opportunity to access higher education also have the chance at succeeding in life. He talked about how students “wander aimlessly, taking liberal arts classes in hopes of transferring to 4-year schools, while not completing meaningful credential there.” That just sounds like the students are not taking the school seriously. If the classes a student is taking gives them no value to their degree or their intelligence, why take it? What I do agree with is that funding should be raised for community colleges to provide resources to students. Just because a student is in a lower socioeconomic class, does not mean they should be limited of opportunities in college. He also recommends colleges working with employers. These are great ideas, that could definitely help students in the future. Having them network and familiar with different companies increases their chances of getting the job they want. While Holzer makes good points, they do not seem revolutionary to me. I believe students have the power to convince their colleges to help them in these ways and many universities already have made these changes. While college is supposed to get a student ready for the work force there is only so much they can do. I believe if a student wants something they usually go out and get it, at least the ones that want to go far in life. There are many ways for someone to get their name out there and get successful whether it be through internships, networking or even building their skills as much as they can and finding opportunities online. There is only so much that funding and guidance can do. Especially in this time where the internet provides someone so much information, and it usually is only one google search away.

  9. This article is very interesting to me, as our education system from Finland is very different than here. After 9th grade, you can choose if you want to continue to high school, or if you want to go to vocational school, and start learning for a specific job. This choice does not affect your future chances of going to a university, but the people who attend high school are more likely to continue to a university.
    This article mentions that many of the community colleges are underfunded, which has an effect on the courses that are offered, which causes their students to take classes that they are not interested in, or does not prepare them for the future. The article mentions that these students would not be ready to be in a 4-year college, or a part of the workforce. To me, this sounds like an excuse. College is basically just how hard you are willing to work, and if you say you aren’t ready for college, it means that you are not willing to work or have other interests. Everything can be learned, it just depends on how hard you are willing to work. Making you learn is no one else’s responsibility than yours. The professors are there to teach you, but if you don’t want to learn, teaching you will be impossible.
    The article also mentions free education. Sounds amazing, I just don’t see a way of it happening. It is done in Finland and other socialist countries, but making education free here would eventually raise the taxes too much, which would force out the billionaires. If there is a way for it, I am all in for it, but personally, I do not see Finland’s socialist system effective, and I am quite tired of Bernie Sanders bringing up the Scandinavian countries as an example for the U.S. It simply just doesn’t work longterm, and we are seeing it in Finland soon.

  10. This article by brookings is interesting and insightful because it highlights how Presidential candidates are misleading the public about their education proposals. The article begins by stating, “ outside of advocating for a few trendy proposals like free college, the candidates have said little to date on how to improve education and skills, especially those that are highly rewarded in the US labor market, among the roughly two-thirds of Americans who do not attain BAs”. In my opinion presidential candidates such as Bernie Sanders could care less about the well-being of college voters and details crazy policies that will never happen such as “free college” to gain college voters. When Bernie says “free college”, he never goes into detail about what that would look like and how it would affect the US economy. For college students, a candidate constantly saying if you elect them, you will go to college for free might sound amazing but it will never happen. Presidential candidates do not detail plans to improve education and skills for those who have not attained a bachelor degrees because they have no idea how to solve this problem. For years, politicians have complained about the workforce, but have done little to fix it.

    The article continues by explaining the problems community college students have in the labor market, “Aside from affordability, students at America’s community colleges get too little support and guidance about what they can realistically achieve in college and what the labor market rewards; too many students wander aimlessly, taking liberal arts classes in the hope of transferring to 4-year schools, while not completing a meaningful credential there”. As someone who graduated from a community college with a social science degree before transferring to Seton Hall, this quote is accurate. While attending community college, everyone including myself had one goal in attending community college, to get enough credits and good grades to transfer to a 4 year school. In my experience at community college, I was given guidance about my future. For example, at the community college I attended, I was assigned a career advisor that I met with every semester who would guide and help me plan at my future, which was to transfer to a 4 year school.

  11. This opinion article from Brookings highlights some of the key issues surrounding college studies, careers, and other important topics for students entering the workforce. The piece starts by mentioning the 2020 presidential race and the constant acknowledgment of candidates regarding living wages. The author, Harry Holzer, mentions that besides a few impossible promises and pandering, politicians have nothing to bridge the disinformation gap between aspiring students and the employers that will hire them. What this means is that there is a big disconnect between employers and newly graduated workers. The skills that students are going to college to learn, are not the skills that employers are anxiously seeking in 2020. Besides the obstacle of finances and being able to afford better schools, Holzer claims that community colleges and smallest schools simply aren’t guiding students down realistic paths. Too many students were told “just get your degree” and decided on a Liberal Arts degree that was not sought after by employers.
    Holzer goes on to talk about how you can’t really blame the schools for this. Schools only have so much in their budget to put towards more counseling or support in career services. It is not in their financial interest to show Art majors how to get a job with their degree. Holzer puts the blame on organizations and businesses that are in need of particular skills. He believes these organizations should be in constant contact with schools to help monitor and guide students into studying things that will teach them desirable skills. I can’t help but agree with this logic. As someone who knew they wanted to be in business, but didn’t know where exactly, I would have loved to have a more specific set of guidelines based on an industry’s needs. All in all, I think this disconnect between schools, students, and employers will be resolved as technology and communication becomes even more accessible to all.

  12. I enjoyed this article, it brought up some very interesting points about the college education system in America. The author, Holzer, talked about how some presidential candidates are promoting their election by promising free college education, which is a great thing to be working towards. But then the author took it a step further, discussing how to prepare students for the workforce. The article discussed the resources that are made available to community colleges. I think that this article brought up the great topic of how some community college students are taking liberal arts classes and then have the hope of transferring to a four-year college. But they end up taking these classes and earning credits that hold no value. Bringing this issue up is very important because while having free college is great what happens after that. You could have a college degree but while you were in college you did not receive any training or information that prepared you for what employers wanted in an employee. The author gave many solutions but one that really stood out was having these employers partner with institutions. With these partnerships, students will be more informed about what skills are wanted and needed in the workforce. I think that raising funds for community colleges for employer partnership programs is a great idea because some students can’t afford or do not want to go to a four-year college after they graduate. So if they choose not to go to a four-year school they still have knowledge about what employers want and need. By taking the discussion further the author made me think about something I hadn’t before. If college in the future is free but everything else stays the same, there will be people with degrees but not having skills that match up with what employers want. I think that from my perspective I could not relate to going to a university that does not prepare its students for what employers want. At Rider, I believe that there are so many programs and opportunities that prepare students for what employers want. But not everyone wants or can attend a school that can afford these programs. Giving every college four-year or not will be giving students everywhere in the country an equal chance when they enter the workforce.

  13. This article points out many issues regarding today’s workforce and the lack of support students receive when picking a career. In America, it is no longer the norm to have one salary support a family. In order for families to be comfortable they must rely on multiple salaries depending on personal situations and cost of living. The article highlights one of the biggest issues regarding nurturing the new workforce. Career planning and advising. First, as a society, we expect an 18-year-old to know what occupation they would like to pursue. This has always been to me, mind-boggling. I think the frustration with this question is evident with the rise of gap years between high school and college. Students who decide to take a gap year often travel and do some soul-searching. But once the gap year is finished is back to reality. It has always been ridiculous that we call college students adults when in reality our brains don’t fully develop until age 25.
    Career advising should be at the forefront of education. School is supposed to prepare students for the real world. The lack of support of personal finance, stress management and career planning are inexcusable. There are a multitude of problems that contribute to the erosion of support for students. Funding is a large issue which has political and moral implications. The gap between career and school must be bridged by educating students on possible occupations. It must be a priority to provide knowledge on what is the correct educational path, expectations and what the job entails. For example, many people have a general idea what an attorney does. But do all high school students know that you don’t have to be a litigator and there are many paths besides the attorneys seen on television that may fit into their interests? I believe more emphasis should be placed on what a student is interested in as opposed to requirements.
    I agree students should pursue being a well-rounded person. Having a little knowledge about a lot can help and increase curiosity. But, does a pre-law major need to take a $4000 volleyball class when they did four years of high school athletics? This seems absurd. Colleges must take a hard look at their admissions process and their educational path. Nowadays, people do not have time or money to invest in a program that will potentially not get them a great job. Of course, what someone puts into the program is a factor. But if the college makes the student take multiple classes where the student has no interest in and does not directly impact their major then why force it?
    We must start from elementary school and work our way up. Exposure to different occupations is a must. Access to high school summer internships is a must. Better community college practices are a must. We must put more effort into streamlining education and evolve while keeping in mind not everyone is privileged to exposure. A student whose parents are in law enforcement is more than likely aware of what their parents do on a daily basis. Another student whose parents work in a factory may not think there is a path for them in any other capacity. We must do better as a society to prepare our future generations for the real world, so they are prepared to combat issues such as climate change and pandemics.

  14. I enjoyed this article very much due to the important topic brought up by the author, higher education’s purpose. I agree with many of the ideas presented in the article specifically with, support and especially career guidance for students; 2) Providing more resources to the community colleges while strengthening their incentives to respond to labor market demand. A major problem is the “Free” education we receive before higher education. Due to the general curriculum imposed on students the public education system lacks career building and support. High school students need to have more specialized classes that are transferable, and applicable in the labor market especially in growing fields, such as technology. Also, many students go to college and do not figure out their passion until they graduate. Most students do not follow the major they choose when entering the labor market, due to them realizing it is not feasible for them. If students find their passion early like in middle school or high school higher chances of kids taking the initiative to become better prepared when entering those positions.
    The second point on providing community college more resources is a great idea. Many students do not or can not join college due to the cost. That is why many go to community college, which should have the same available resources presented to the state universities. If community colleges are supported as well, they can help students build the necessary skills to become more marketable in the labor force. This includes companies creating partnerships with the schools for job study programs or internships that the students can sign up on. Too much emphasis is placed on going to a four year university that increases their cost every year, but provides the same education.
    Another big impact on community college is the stigma behind them. Many students believe kids that go to community college are not smart enough for a four year school or they don’t want to go to a four year school. Personally I know many who chose the community college route to avoid high debt, who then entered a program to transfer from a community college into a four year college. Community College should be a means of getting a higher education without attending a four year college. We need to disband the idea that you need a bachelor degree to even be marketable in the labor force instead focus on apprenticeships for students. Companies should also play an important role in telling all higher institutions the skills that are needed as well provide students with greater mentor ship programs for careers that are applicable.
    Like the Author declared instead of placing so much emphasis on free education during these elections let’s focus on the resource we have to rebuild the foundation of higher education to better improve our citizens to reach higher economic statuses then focus on free education which is a process.

  15. The importance of investing in meaningful education to produce a sustainable workforce should not be overlooked. This article showed many valid points highlighting the inconsistencies of higher education especially when transitioning into the workforce. The dependence and insistence on attending college has steadily increased by generation but it has not always created fulfilling jobs. As seen in this article, the lack of guidance and affordability can be supreme deterrents to success in college and what is needed in the workforce. Many students I have encountered and myself included, have many unanswered questions of what path should be taken in college and how the skills and knowledge learned can be used productively in the workforce.
    An interesting point made in this article was that employers very seldom engage with these colleges which makes it difficult to understand the demand in the workforce. The lack of support and guidance within the colleges intertwined with the inconsistent interaction with employers, produces the lackluster outcome we are experiencing. The numerous amounts of students taking non meaningful credentials because they are poorly advised is a critical hinderance to the efficiency of college and how they can transition into the workforce. Although the colleges may lack the funding to support this guidance, the employers could be a beneficial aid in guiding the students to needed skills and knowledge which would be necessary to gain access to many positions in the workforce.
    This article was an informative read and highlighted many substantial points about the community college and workforce relationship. The community colleges obviously need much more support including resources and funding. If the colleges were able to attain this aid, their focus should be on necessary career guidance and encouraging the partnership between employers and community colleges. The political side of this article is intriguing as well, because the need is there, and many politicians could be part of the change in the future. Lastly, the amount of skill limitations to many individuals in our community is severely hindering their ability to improve and we should not allow this to continue without trying to reverse this trend by guiding future employees in the best possible way.

  16. In my opinion this was a very interesting article. There were some points made that I have never considered before. The main topic of this article was finding solutions to improve workforce success for american college students. I agree that politicians have done little to address the issue of stagnation in worker earnings. As the article mentions, some politicians have plans to make college more affordable, but this is not a pinpointed solution to address the real root of the problem. The article offered three solutions for fixing the problem. The first was to put more focus on career guidance in college. The second was to strengthen the resources of community college, and the third was to have employers work closer with community colleges to create more occupational education. I think these are all good ideas that come closer to addressing the root issues. I think another good solution would be to have employers put funding into different career focused programs at schools in their local areas. It would be an investment of making more educated and competent employees. They would also have to spend less on new employee training costs if they prepared students still in school. I think overall this is an interesting issue that I don’t think has been emphasized enough.

  17. People have always thought that going to college and getting a degree is going to be enough to get a job and to help them with their career, however it is not enough for them at all. College students don’t realize the difficulty of getting a full-time job after graduating is all about competition and perfect timing. It seems as if they expect things to come to them and naturally. Students also don’t always get the best support they need too and they do not know about the success rate until they set foot into the real world. College is a stepping stone for their career and future, but one must put all efforts to get themselves where they want to be in life.
    There is going to be a 2020 Campaign and that is going to help college students try and gain the most success in life after attending college and getting a degree. It is going to be stationed and geared towards making all college students become successful and have the best outcome for their future. The workforce has grown a lot more through the years and it is more common for people to graduate and not to get the job of their dreams right away. Students always have a path about where they want to end up but very often they do not end up where they want to be. Life changes and sometimes the path students think they end up is not always the one they will be in.

  18. America’s unemployment rate has been a major discussion in our nation’s government each year, and with the number of graduates rising year by year, some are left jobless after obtaining their degree, associates or bachelor’s degree. In recent surveys, 2.1% of college graduates face unemployment. Compared to 2010’s survey of 5%, the 2018 unemployment is still leaving 46,776 of the projected 3,898,000 graduates with a bachelors or associates degree jobless. Sure, the percentage isn’t the highest, but it is still a major issue for students who are in debt after college. If graduates are in unemployment they won’t be able to pay off their debts, which will create serious financial debts for them in the future. The author of the article, Harry Holzer made numerous key points and arguments about his beliefs of the unemployment rate for graduate students.
    Holzer discusses the issues for the level of “support and guidance” in community colleges across the country. Community colleges are a way for students looking for a cheaper education in years to follow of high school graduation. Theses colleges are a getaway for students with low-income and older students who are trying to finish a degree. With cheaper costs, many students aren’t receiving the proper skills other schools that generate higher educations have. These reasons come from the professors not making enough money at the community colleges. A lot of professors are beginning to not teach as much in person and rely heavily on technology due to the belief of the unfairness of the pay by community colleges.
    With technology increasing as well, students are relying on technology rather than face to face contact. With the school’s technology rising, many schools have been using online applications that have a steady interface for students to use. For example, Canvas is an online management system that supports online learning and teaching. This is an easier way for teachers to show students what they need to do over technology, rather than in person communication. Although it may help students to see their assignments easier, it allows them to have access to websites that have information and answers many can forge without the students learning how to use them. Many professors that have online exams take the questions directly from some of these websites. It creates major issues for students that are struggling with learning the key concepts and skills they need to learn from their classes. Rather than learning them, they are just taking the answers off of a website. This leads to insufficient communication skills in the workplace after college, which can lead to job interviews that don’t go well. Some teachers rely on canvas so heavily that they turn the majority of the classes into online classes, which defeats the learning process a lot of students need to have in order to incorporate those skills they learned into their jobs after they graduate college. This is a major factor for graduates because if they don’t know how to do it in person, they won’t be able to succeed with their jobs. In person skills with jobs is what a lot of employers look for, even with modern technology growing.

  19. The investment of going to a 4 year school is a big step to make for many students and many of them do not know the opportunity costs and risks of doing so. Speaking as a business major myself may come off with a bias, but the basic principles of attending a four year university for a program that can not compete with such in the job market does not have a high standing in job competition. Comparing a major course such as accounting to musical theater is like comparing apples to oranges, but in a sense it’s easy to see the difference between the two. Musical theater is a major with extremely limited outcome when looking for jobs while in accounting, there is a wide open market and they are always in need. Rather than looking into the resources that need to help the community colleges, removing these overpriced salestags for the false advertised majors in college which lead students to fall into debt must be removed. By doing so the schools will save money on these degrees and can enforce better programs for others such as IT and medical degrees.
    As for saying this, no I do not believe the degrees are pointless for musical theater or fine arts, but there are better ways to get degrees or experience. By swapping the curriculum to a lesser 2 year school where you can get the same program, you can save money and get into the job market earlier. Thus it makes getting a degree much easier and cheaper and the investment in school is a lot more beneficial. Going to the same school as a business major that is going to average double the salary coming out of University is not going to leverage the same for a fine arts major. As for that, the improved programs for sciences and IT as stated in the article will become improved and help out these students looking for a well designed and affordable program. By enacting this along side as the steps stated in the article, college would be a better investment for everyone and those true high dollar tuitions will be better off for everyone.

  20. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this article by Harry J. Holzer discussing the current state of college students’ success in the workforce. It amazed me while reading about the lack of support that college students who attend community college receive. The lack of employer engagement, guidance and rare college funding are all reasons as to why college students who attend community college are not performing as well as students who attend four-year institutions. While reading about this, it has allowed me to truly value and appreciate all of the extra curricular resources that are provided to me at my university. The article then examined several different strategies that can be implemented to strengthen the skills and earnings capacities of workers without a bachelor’s degree.
    One of the strategies that were covered in the article was to engage more employees in partnerships with community colleges. In my opinion, this is one of the most significant approaches that community colleges can begin to apply. By frequently hosting events and having partnerships with employers this will allow the students to create connections with recruiters that will open up potential career opportunities. Occupational education and work-based learning grants students the opportunity to experience the real-world while also building a great foundation for their career. Another strategy that was discussed in the article is to provide more extra curricular resources to community colleges. I can relate to this being an effective strategy because I myself have utilized the various resources that are provided to me by my university whether it be tutoring, career development events and employer presentations. These different resources have allowed me to grow as a professional while also allowing me to pave a path for my career. Overall, the points that Holzer touched upon in this article all play a major role in college and should be implemented to improve the workforce success of community college students.

  21. I found this article very interesting to read considering I am not really a political person. But I do agree with some points the article is making such as improving the educational system. The article makes a great point in saying not many people have BA’s or don’t have the opportunity to get one. I believe the educational system does have the capability to make the changes and improvements to make it possible for more people to get BA’s. Many students in this decade only have a high school diploma because they feel as though college is not for them or they can’t afford it. If we make changes in the system, we could change to college being affordable to everyone and eventually leading them to getting degrees so they could be successful in their desired career.
    I also agree with another point in the article, which is that employers should engage more in community colleges. Most employers go to top schools such as Rugters, Rider and Princeton because they want only the best and smart students working for them. But they are only limiting their options if they keep only going to these types of schools. They should expand and consider students at community colleges a place in their company. They should also try to reach out to more community colleges and educate students how important their skills are. For example, they could send an employee in their company as a guest speaker, they could educate about their firm and the careers the company takes.

  22. Attending a four year college institution is not something to be taken for granted. However the price of a two year institution is most likely half the price of a four year institution. The presidential race has brought about the issue of paying for higher education. While it may seem like a good idea to offer free education, it’s important to know that not everything is free. If we receive free education now, the money will be taken out of our paycheck later on to help future generations in attending colleges. We all have our own opinions on how to handle paying for college however we need to make sure that attending higher education is worth the money.
    I have been fortunate enough to attend Rider University and gain much guidance since starting at the institution three years ago. Many four-year institutions have connections to employers. Some employers may even use college as a factor in the hiring process. The downside with higher education is that not all community colleges are able to gain the employer relationship that four year institutions may gain. Mercer County Community College in New Jersey has a strong nursing program that many graduates are able to pursue a job in a nearby hospital. However an accounting major at the college may not have the ability to gain the employer experience that nursing majors receive. This is due to clinical work for nursing majors that builds students relationships with employers and no field work requirement for business majors to offer them experience.
    Students who attend community college may also lack guidance on how to take control of their education and build a successful career for themselves. Students attending community college are taking basic education classes to try to figure out what to major in later on in a four year institution. Many students can leave community college more confused than ever. Without the guidance, students are attending college to receive a degree that may never be used later on. Students put a lot of money towards their education and should be able to receive guidance along the way and build a successful career for themselves in the long run.

  23. I attended community college because of how affordable it was. I agree that colleges are very expensive and it is difficult for people to afford going to college but what I do not agree with just handing free schooling out to those who do not work while attending school. My family is not rich. My parents were stable enough to cover all of our family expenses such as car insurance, health insurance, groceries etc. but, college was something I had to pay for whether it was upfront with cash or with student loans. I have paid for all of my schooling on my own and to this day, I have zero college debt. I am currently a Junior in college and I work approximately 35 hours a week while being a full-time student with a 3.65 GPA. I went to community college full-time, worked while attending school, and got a great transfer scholarship to a four-year university based on my grades. Yes, I am technically a semester behind but that is because I was unaware of what I wanted to study not because of financial reasons. Going to school and working is not easy but, wanting to be successful in my future is what gets me through the long days in the classroom, working evenings, and the long nights of studying. Rapper Eminem once said, “Success is the only option, failures not.” Nothing in this life is handed to me, I work hard for everyday and that quote represents what I strive for.
    Community college is very affordable but at the end of the day, you get what you paid for. I would not say that I had the best experience in community college. Most professors do not care enough to update grades online, return grades in a week turnaround, and return emails in a timely fashion. Everyone walks around with their heads down, earbuds in, and frowns on their faces. When I was a freshman in college, I went to speak with one of the advisors available in the career center about potentially changing my major and the advisor told me that I was stupid for changing my major and that I will not go anywhere in life with this decision. Being a freshman and a first-generation college student, I had no idea what I was doing and that advisor put heavy weight on my chest by stressing me out with my future. After that, I never went to that center again and figured everything out on my own. If I had any questions, I waited the five to six days for a response rather than going in and meeting with someone.
    The one thing I hope community colleges offer more and businesses are more open to is internship opportunities. When I was in community college, I would have loved to work in different industries to help me decide exactly what I wanted to do with my life and help me prepare for attending a four-year university with a more hands-on learning. I am currently looking for my first internship as a junior and wish I could have a few under my belt by now. Internships help us prepare for the real world with real world scenarios that textbooks and the classroom setting do not offer. Going to school helps us build a solid base for our career but going into the field and learning more challenging information what really ties together the learning experience.

  24. I am not really a political person, but I am a college student so I found parts of this article to be interesting. Most parents and teachers tell kids that they should look into going to college even at a young age. College is a topic that is pressed into the minds of the youth which can be both a good and bad thing. I personally believe that college will one day be one of the few ways for people to be successful and live comfortably. Although, in today’s society many college graduates are struggling to find a job as they are looking for the best of the best. This article mentions a few ways in order to potentially help college students in making it into the workforce. Holzer mentions that there is a lack of guidance given to community college students which I can agree with. Many of my friends attend community college and constantly ask me questions like what should they be majoring in, will this credit transfer to another school or how do you find internships. I find it baffling that they are paying for an education, but no one is there to help them along the way. I am lucky enough to be able to attend a private university that has an incredible system for helping their students. We are constantly receiving emails about work opportunities or workshops to help prepare for interviews or simple work tasks that really help students. I for one take advantage of these opportunities and have personally benefitted from them so I believe that every student, no matter the institution, should have the same opportunity if not more. If community college students were given guidance, they would be able to make sure that the major they chose is right for them in order to walk out of college with a degree and a potential job opposed to debt and long-term regret.

  25. The workplace always competitive; however, students were believing if they attend college, they will find a good job. Instead, the workforce becoming a super competitive battleground where you need to stand out to find a good job today. The article by Holzer was interesting how he wants to improve colleges, especially community colleges so the students get more support. Holzer mentioned in his article that “Providing more supports and especially career guidance for students”. That will help the students to have much more knowledge about workplaces. Most community colleges do not help the student in career guidance. Colleges do not prepare the student for the workplace. Colleges need to make internships as a requirement like attending class. That will help students to have an idea of what is the workplace is like. Holzer wants the states to provide supports to the students by, “Provide more resources to the community colleges while strengthening their incentives to respond to labor market demand and to Engage more employers in partnerships with community colleges to expand occupational education and work-based learning”. I know that students who attend community college will not get the same opportunities as a student who attended a 4-year college. However, some of the 4-year colleges are so expensive that some students cannot afford it. Also, he believes that some schools want just to make a profit and they do not benefit the students. That’s why community colleges need to support their students and offered them opportunities to learn about the workplace.

  26. In the structure of the current modern American society that we all live in, a great emphasis is placed on going to college, almost as if it is an essential piece of being successful, even though proven many times not to be the case. When college is talked about, however, the majority of people almost always refer to four-year college, not community college—in turn, leading to many community colleges or two-year schools to be overlooked and frowned upon. Thus not receiving the funding that they deserve, which ends up negatively affects the students that attend them. In the article from Brookings titled Improving workforce success among America’s college students by Harry J. Holzer, the issue of many community college students not having the skills they need to work is addressed along with ways to combat the problem. One of the critical issues that he highlights immediately is the fact that many students go to these schools in hopes of doing well and then go to a four-year college or to get a job afterward. The issue with this is that according to him “students at America’s community colleges get too little support and guidance about what they can realistically achieve in college and what the labor market rewards; too many students wander aimlessly, taking liberal arts classes in the hope of transferring to four-year schools, while not completing a meaningful credential there”. Therefore, when the students graduate, they don’t have the skills necessary to secure a good stable job and end up working somewhere below their skill level, thus making their two-year degree useless. One of the key reasons why this is the case, according to Holzer, is that schools simply don’t have enough funding to offer more practical sources, nor do they have the adequate incentives to do so in the first place. Thus, ensuring that they provide the same liberal arts courses instead of ones that push their students to go to the next level and will help them out in their future employment. According to the article, however, a way this can be fixed is if the state gives more money so that the more resources from the state help to “provide a range of supports for students, and that such funding improves outcomes there”. Along with this, Holzer also says that he thinks the incentives states uses “should put more weight on subsequent earnings outcomes of students as well as credit or credential attainment, and especially among minorities and disadvantaged students”. With more incentives and money, as well as more attentive students, Holzer feels as if the students will end up being better prepared after community college and will go on to have better careers. If not, it’s a least a start in the right direction. In my opinion, I feel as if all these steps are enough to make the first step in the right direction towards creating a more prepared college student for the workforce. That being said, there is only so much a student can be taught, and if one expects a student to be wholly prepared, there must be some type of program and learning experience that can help the students grasp the accountability that the real world offers.

  27. Harry J. Holzer’s article, “ Improving Workforce Success Among America’s College students focuses on the theory that students who attend community colleges do not receive the necessary guidance to properly succeed in the work force during their future careers. Holzer describes how recent graduates/ new employees are not properly equipped to enter into our fast pace labor market. He further elaborates that colleges and universities themselves cannot necessarily “ afford” to provide the funds to support fast growing careers like medicine, IT and engineering. Programs like these require expensive resources, therefor schools have less of an incentive to financially support them. Personally, I find it hard to reason with the idea that colleges are not capable of supporting programs in healthcare and IT; If there is such a demand for these programs, colleges will only benefit from implementing more of these in their curriculum. Aside from a few liberal arts majors, almost everyone I have encountered here at Seton Hall is trying to achieve a career in either Health, IT or Business. The job rate for computer and technology occupations is projected to grow 12 percent in the next 10 years. Adjacent to this, the healthcare industry is assumed to 14 percent in the same amount of time. If a colleges main objective is to provide a pathway for future members of the workforce, they should focus their resources on the fastest growing fields. Beyond this, Holzer also explains how employers “engage too little” with schools and institutions to properly guide potential employees to have the attributes they will be looking for. I believe this to be especially true when it comes to smaller companies and employers. Smaller corporations typically do not have the resources to dedicate some of their employees solely to recruit future employees. Most companies need all their employees and aren’t able to dedicate a person or a whole team to interact with colleges on a regular basis. Typically, only large companies may have a dedicated personal department to recruiting new employees, and that is assuming that one of their priorities is to expand their business.

  28. This article stood out to me because I am apart of the group it is referring to. Improving workforce success among America’s college students, is definitely something I am interested in and agree with because I am a college student. In 2023, if everything goes to plan, I will be graduating from Seton Hall. I picked Seton Hall because I believe they can best prepare and for life in the workplace. However, students are not coming out of their college with the skills necessary for the field they are going to work in. This article showcases this problem and provides how it can potentially be improved. There is a discrepancy in the skills and earning capacities of students, now workers, who attain a BA and those who do not. Holzer provides four improvements that can be made: “1) Providing more supports and especially career guidance for students; 2) Providing more resources to the community colleges while strengthening their incentives to respond to labor market demand; 3) Engaging more employers in partnerships with community colleges to expand occupational education and work-based learning; and 4) Maintaining and strengthening regulations in the for-profit sector.” I think all of these a great ideas and would definitely improve the situation. Students need someone, especially with experience in their future workforce, that they can talk too. This person can give them advice and help them get through difficult processes, situations, and even decisions together. Universities also should have good relationships with employers. They should have events or opportunities with employers, that students can go to or take advantage of. Whether it is on or off campus the universities have to at least help students get their foot in the door. They must also promote these events and opportunities, students have to be aware of them. Seton Hall does a great job with this in my opinion. I believe we are very fortunate for the Career Center, and should not take it for granted. As a student, knowing that people are there for me when I need help or support is very relieving. They are willing to do whatever they can to help us, which is something that is extremely helpful and valuable. For example, the current coronavirus pandemic forced the cancellation of the career fair which is one of the biggest events and opportunities. However, they are working hard for the students to put it only so that they do not lose this opportunity. Many other students at other university wish they had something like the Career Center available for them. Holzer also gives great suggestions for Community Colleges, which I agree with you. I think the perception of Community Colleges are not that good. A lot of people feel embarrassed to go to a community college, they feel like they failed or are struggling. I know people my age who are afraid to admit they attend or to transfer to a community college because they feel that way. Many people who attended Community Colleges in the past do not give glowing reviews either. Community Colleges need to improve internal so their outside perception improves as well.

  29. A lot of students go to college with an idea in mind and they realize they actually hate the path their on and want to change, but dont know what to change it to. Thee’s also a lof times where people are majoring in something, but don’t even have a plan on what to do with that degree once they graduate. This is where colleges come into play. They can provide more insight as to what you can do with a degree. A lot of colleges have student success centers or offices to help with job placement for after college, but not everybody uses it. If schools were to have employers come in and speak to classes directly about the possibilities they can achieve with that degree it will open up eyes and even help graduation rates if students were able to grasp the concept. Schools should also be willing to place students in co-op, or even making it part of the curriculum, that you can earn credits for. This will surely help students get a taste of the real-world, and they would get a sense of if this is the right field for them to stay in. Community colleges should be funded more to help students understand more about work after college. Another reason they should be funded is because they lack programs. They need more money to offer students a larger selection of majors so they can properly succeed and be happy in a field of their choice.

  30. The topic of what to do after college seems to never get much traction. The plan is usually: get into college, graduate with a good degree, and get a job. However, with the oversaturation of the job market, many sectors just cannot accommodate more workers. There needs to be a guidance system, whether university funded, state funded, or federally funded, that helps students to pick a field they will find opportunities in and, once graduated, find a job. Employers should have a channel in which they can directly interface with graduates, or even prospective hires. It is quite ridiculous that the education system takes a bunch of eighteen-year-old kids and puts them in the position to choose their future. I went to a private high-school and they were not even able to give the proper guidance on choosing a path for my future, all they were focused on was getting every student into a university in order to keep their statistics high. The path toward finding a career is not something that should start after graduating college, it needs to start during high school, so students are ready to make informed decisions when it comes to their futures. I agree with the points this article made; students need career guidance, resources, and employer engagement. The best way to find a career path is to see it, apprenticeships and internships are perhaps the most important steps towards finding a career, because there is no telling what fulfills someone until they try it. After four, five, or even eight years of being in college, the hardest part about finding a career should not be looking for an opening at a nearby firm. What has happened to people I know is once they graduated college, they could not find a job with their degree, so they end up working retail or in a restaurant until something better comes around. Years later their still working at the same place because they have a degree in a field that is either oversaturated or a dying industry. There needs to be guidance every step of the way because a system that only works for half of the people that go through it is a bad system.

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