To address demand for job-specific training, these colleges are giving students more ways to gain work experience and short-term credentials while in school.
Pressed to respond to students’ concerns about the rising cost of higher education and their sometimes-foggy understanding of how their learning translates into jobs, some colleges are reshaping the degree pathway.
Their motivation for doing so is not only internal. Nontraditional education providers are proving to be stiff competition. Bootcamps prepare information technology and web-development workers in months, not years. And multinational firms now produce their own certificates that promise to be gateways to meaningful entry-level work.
“While colleges don’t need to become vocational programs, they will need to find new ways to meet the needs of students and the economy or they risk losing out on that huge future market for lifelong learning,” David Soo, chief of staff at Jobs for the Future, a nonprofit that advocates for better links between education and the workforce, told Education Dive in an email. It partnered with Google to offer its IT certificate at 100 community colleges.