A survey released this week found that just 11 percent of business leaders “strongly agreed” that college graduates have the needed skills to be up for the jobs businesses need to fill. The same survey found the vast majority of employers put a premium on knowldege over education.
White House press secretary Jay Carney speaks during his daily news briefing at the White House in Washington, Friday, Feb. 28, 2014. He answered questions on Ukraine and immigration reform, among others. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
Asked about the survey Friday, White House press secretary Jay Carney said an education that prepares students for practical job skills has been a high priority for President Barack Obama and Education Secretary Arne Duncan.
“I don't know that he [Obama] has seen that report, but I can tell you he and Secretary Duncan are very focused on the need to have opportunities available to young Americans so that they are getting the education they need to fill the good paying jobs of the future,” Carney told TheBlaze.
Carney referenced Vice President Joe Biden's leading an effort for job skills training, which Obama announced in this year's State of the Union.
“And that is reflected in the jobs driven training that the vice president, on president's behalf, is overseeing, and that we had a very big meeting about with leaders of many universities and colleges not that long ago,” Carney said.
Carney told TheBlaze that these findings demonstrate what the administraton is already trying to address.
“Again, not knowing the details of the poll, I think it reflects a challenge that we face as a nation, which is to make sure that we are harnessing the great potential of our people as well as those that come and study here in our excellent universities and colleges and that we're also providing opportunities through community colleges and other educational institutions to ensure that our people are getting the training they need for the job opportunities that are available,” Carney continued.
They Gallup survey done on behalf of the Lumina Foundation found that 84 percent of business leaders said the amount of knowledge a candidate has in a field is “very important,” and 79 percent said skills were “very important.” Just 28 percent said the college major was “very important,” while just 9 percent said that about where the applicant when to college.
The Chronicle of Higher Education cited that “just 11% of business leaders 'strongly agree' that today's graduates have the skills and competencies that their businesses need. In contrast, a recent Gallup survey found that 96% of college and university chief academic officers said they were 'extremely or somewhat confident' in their institution's ability to prepare students for work-force success."
Citing the disconnect between college officials and employers, the Wall Street Journal editorialized, “As the famous movie line put it, what we seem to have here is a failure to communicate,” and adding that universities have become more bureacratic.
“A staple of speeches on the American future is that the U.S. higher-ed system is still the world's greatest,” the Journal said. “That may be true. But it's time for these institutions to recognize they are getting a wake-up call from the world beyond the ivy-covered walls.”
Carney called this a broader challenge facing America.
“I know Secretary Duncan has done a lot of work on this,” Carney said. “But it does reflect one of the concerns we have about improve our education system so that young Americans are getting the education and skills they need to fill the jobs of tomorrow.
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