We have been predicting this for 2017, and so has the country's leading trainer Anthony Carnevale, for years. You are going to see this story in major media any month, week, day now.
Business in this country is starving for four year college graduates.
We are now seeing some stories that companies have to turn down new business because they don't have the skilled workers. And the greatest shortage of skilled workers is with the workers who create jobs for everyone else: the college educated. The canary in the coal mine might be Denmark, where the economic growth has slowed because of the shortage of skilled workers.
Here's the telling picture for the United States. Chart one: The U.S. has one of the lowest unemployment rates in the advanced world for four year college graduates.
But it's not that the U.S. just has a low unemployment rate overall. When you look at people with a two year degree (below) and then those with just a high school degree, the U.S. has a much higher unemployment rate. The lesson: Get more two year and high school grads to get a four year college degree. Business and the workforce is starving for college grads.
Once again the lesson (are you listening business, government and education leaders?): If our economy is to continue to grow and our people to get better jobs and be more prosperous, get more two year and high school grads to get a four year college degree.
In my 40 years in the field, I have not seen as bizarre a continuing education story as this one.
A for-profit online course provider named Cengage is offering the same online courses through two different nonprofit systems: 1.Continuing education departments in colleges, universities and schools, which charge fees of around $100 per class. 2.Public libraries, which pay Cengage and then offer them free to the general public.
Many continuing educators in colleges are "shocked," stunned that Cengage would offer the same courses for free in their own local communities.
The courses offered through continuing education programs Cengage calls "Ed2Go." The courses offered free through public libraries Cengage calls "Gale." But they are the same courses, same instructors, same length, same content. And Cengage puts both the free students into the same classes as the Ed2Go students, according to a librarian we interviewed.
Cengage, as a for-profit, wants as much profit as possible. So the more students, the more income, the more profit. Understood. But pitting their own continuing education program Partners in colleges and universities all across North America against their own local public libraries. Not understood.
Disclosure and Self Interest: Ed2Go competes with my nonprofit organization, LERN, which offers UGotClass online courses that are promoted by over 200 colleges, universities and schools in the U.S. and Canada. UGotClass is growing by a whopping 20% a year. A number of colleges are now considering UGotClass as a result of Cengage offering free classes through public libraries. So I am not complaining about the Cengage story, just mystified.
As I said, it is the most bizarre continuing education story I've seen in 40 years.
There was a time when my cell phone never "dropped a call" or didn't get good connections.
It was 30 years ago. Our first 'cell phone' was before cell phones. It was called a "radiotelephone" or radiophone. We called it a car phone.
Even in the depths of the forest up north in extremely rural areas, we got service. We did not experience, nor know the term, a 'dropped call'. We did not know about being out of a service area, or not getting a good connection.
The car phone was huge. But the instruction booklet on how to make a phone call was only 24 pages long. Plus the guide to how much a call would make in different places. The average was about $1 a minute.
We bought it for safety reasons driving home in Kansas at midnight from the airport. By "safety," we mean car trouble in the middle of nowhere, not personal safety trouble.
In addition to huge amounts of car battery power, the car phone ran on a radio frequency. No towers needed. Our car phone now a new feature of our Museum of the 20th Century. Call - - if you can get through - - for museum hours.
College classrooms - - all but a few new open model classrooms in fact - - are now obsolete for this century.
We checked in a few months ago with Don Collins, a pioneer in creating the new classroom of the 21st century.
He is principal of the 'open model' classroom high school in Melbourne, Australia, one of the, if not the, first in the world. Principal Collins says that the new model is growing. He does consulting on it with schools in China. And he told us about architecture firms in the United States that are making a business of building the new classroom school.
It's done. We have the new classroom model. It's really cool, and effective. Watch it grow.
Not only are colleges continuing to build new buildings like they needed them, but colleges have more existing space right now than they need.
Instead of investing in faculty and technology, the only two things that matter to someone's learning, colleges build unneeded buildings.
Three things about existing campus space:
1.They are underutilized now. Yes, from Tuesdays-Thursdays 10 am to 2 pm they are packed. But nights, weekends, late afternoons, they stand idle - - except for the costs.
2.Hybrid cuts space needs in half. Hybrid courses have learners meet in-person half as many times as traditional classes. In between, they interact and learn online. are superior in learning outcomes. That means colleges can get twice as many classes into the same space as they have now. Or even cut classroom space and still have room to grow.
3.Offices, offices, offices. "Come see my office," hailed one new administrator at a nearby college. No, I want to see your classrooms, I replied. With telecommuters being more productive than office workers, colleges spend money to have their people be 25% LESS effective.
Can't decide whether I like this close up photo better.
Higher education seems to be sliding towards a huge breakdown. Few are talking about it; many are hiding it.
Visiting senior administration officials this past month at one college, they were agitated and vexed with a big $9 million shortfall in the budget. The college got $133 million from local taxpayers just five years ago to build more big buildings. Now they have to figure out how to pay for it.
A big problem for higher education is that its edifice complex is way out of control.
College presidents have built enormous facilities as their legacies, and now they cannot pay for them.
The cost of constructing campus buildings is only 15% of their eventual cost: you have maintenance, heat, lights, lawns to mow, etc.
Stuck with the buildings, colleges have to consider laying off faculty and keeping the lawn mowers. Clothes line in the snow. You don't see that much anymore. Farms are so beautiful. I risked a traffic violation stopping on a four lane to take this picture. It was worth it.