Across the Great Divide - Civic Enterprises

within six years, and less than one-third of associate's degree candidates earn their degree ..... information technology, and clean energy—require workers.
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ACROSS THE GREAT DIVIDE PERSPECTIVES OF CEOS AND COLLEGE PRESIDENTS ON AMERICA’S HIGHER EDUCATION AND SKILLS GAP

MARC H 2011

CIVIC ENTERPRISES CORPORATE VOICES FOR WORKING FAMILIES In Association with:

INSTITUTE FOR A COMPETITIVE WORKFORCE, U.S. CHAMBER OF COMMERCE PETER D. HART RESEARCH ASSOCIATES Written by:

JOHN BRIDGELAND JESSICA MILANO ELYSE ROSENBLUM

TABLE OF CONTENTS An Open Letter to the American People . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2 Executive Summary . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3 Introduction: The Great Divide . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 View from the Top: Perspectives of Business and College Leaders . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7 The .State .of .American .Education . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7 The .State .of .Hiring .in .the .United .States . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7 Two .Crucial .Misconceptions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9 Righting .the .Ship . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9 Addressing .the .Nation’s .Misperception .of .Associate’s .Degrees . . . . . . . . 9 The .Other .Dropout .Crisis . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12 A .Picture .of .the .Bubble .within .the .American .Workforce . . . . . . . . . . . . . .14 A .Blueprint .for .Reform . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15 Businesses Take Steps to Meet the Challenge . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16 Earn and Learn . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16 Case Studies: Businesses Making an Impact . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18 Business and Educational Institutions Support Reforms . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21 Government Must Meet the Challenge . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23 Paths Forward . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24 Credentials Count . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24 Foster Business and Community College Partnerships . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25 Change our Vernacular . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25 Get Transfers Right . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25 Incent Completion, Not Just Enrollment . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 26 Measure Success (and Failure) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 26 Conclusion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 27 Acknowledgments and Notes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28 Appendix .

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Bibliography . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 29

AN OPEN LETTER TO THE AMERICAN PEOPLE A GREAT DIVIDE HAS EMERGED in the United States between the education and skills of the American workforce and the needs of the nation’s employers .Many of those looking for work do not have the skills required by companies looking to hire—resulting in high unemployment even as businesses desperately seek new talent .If our nation fails to bridge this gap, we will risk our ability to compete effectively on the global stage The good news is there is broad agreement among business and higher education leaders that a postsecondary degree or credential is important for success in the workplace .Many employers are even taking steps to support the education and boost the skills of their employees .But two widesp