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Go to College, Get a Good Job

April 7, 2017

University Ventures,” an investment fund established to invest in higher education has been sidelined by regulations against for-profit education by the former Obama Administration. But, they’ve been publishing interesting articles on higher education

Today they’ve posted a story about earning a college degree in order to get a job. Here’s a summary of this study:

Half of the recent college grads… said they didn’t have to go to college to acquire the skills they needed for their current jobs, and 86 percent of them said they were learning things on the job that they didn’t learn in college… 75 percent of the employers surveyed said the diploma is an effective way to narrow the pool of applicants and speed up the hiring process.

That percentage of employers who “said the diploma is an effective way to narrow the pool of applicants” is a terrible commentary on the thinking of personnel officers in corporations.

Here’s why:

I gave a presentation about my new book, The Coming Death of American Higher Education, to an audience of conservatives at the Heartland Institute in Chicago. In the Q&A, one of the attendees asked why our corporations don’t get more involved in educating young people about economics and finance.

I told him about a meeting I had at “BB&T University,” that retired BB&T President John Allison made possible.

My purpose was to interest BB&T in offering a two-year Associate of Arts degree program in Finance and Banking for Junior/Senior high school students that would award the most successful students with employment as an entry-level teller. I offered to design the program, place it online, and attain national accreditation in four years.

The representative of BB&T University said, “we prefer college graduates because they know how to dress.”

Here’s what annual tuition, room and board, costs to learn “how to dress” at universities near BB&T University in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.

Wake Forest         $51,400    Winston Salem State    $26,593

Piedmont International     $12,310     UNC School of the Arts    $13,027

That mindset, even today apparently, is representative of 75% of employers. They would rather have an applicant up to his ears in debt than develop an in-house, job specific, training program for prospective employees.

I argue in my new book that this can be turned around over ten years by assigning 5% of annual Title IV program subsidies to the states to administer in Block Grants.

Start now, and within ten years, the States will be directing those funds to support company training programs. My guess is that a subsidy of four hundred thousand dollars would have persuaded even BB&T University to offer entry level teller jobs to the Junior/Senior high school students of their account holders with the highest Grade Point Average in a two year course in Finance and Banking.

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