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To Close the Skills Gap, Create Industry-Vetted Certificate Programs for Students

To Close the Skills Gap, Create Industry-Vetted Certificate Programs for Students

The James G. Martin Center for Academic Renewal

Laurence Peterson
February 5, 2021
Even though experts believe college is still worth the cost, employers question the value to their businesses. Many believe college degrees do not provide graduates with the skills needed in today’s workplace.
In a 2014 survey of over 600 business leaders, only 11 percent strongly agreed that college graduates had the skills their companies needed. The majority believed that universities are not adequately preparing students. The gap has only widened since then. Employers expect more from college graduates.
The mismatch between college programs and the needs of the business community creates two problems for graduates. Many cannot find meaningful employment after graduating, and then they cannot pay off their student loan debt. Unfortunately, universities are doing little to address this issue.
So why aren’t colleges offering courses that teach students the skills employers want?
The answers lie with university faculty who make course and curriculum decisions. Without industry experience, faculty cannot teach workplace skills.
This problem is often more severe for STEM degree programs despite STEM grads’ higher salaries because of the large gap between theory and practice. Universities need to change their approach and work with the business community when they create new courses.

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