For the more than 18 million college students in the United States, entering a rollercoaster of a job market can be daunting. Since college degrees no longer automatically equate to a steady income post-graduation, many high school graduates are going into trade schools or forgoing college altogether and entering the workforce directly, stacking certifications in order to gain knowledge.
What happens, then, when the lines are blurred between education and employment? Is it corporate America’s responsibility to upskill and teach future generations, or does higher ed still hold the power to educate the masses?
The answer isn’t so straightforward. Corporations like Apple, IBM, and Hilton have long done away with the requirement to have a college degree in order to get hired. Instead, they focus on skills-based hiring and on the job training in order to create a workforce that meets its needs.
Higher education isn’t going away, but Ernst & Young recently announced that it's creating its own MBA program, which is free to all employees. This foray into education alongside employment is going to become the norm as more and more people opt to skip college entirely and head directly into the workforce. Google recently announced its plan to offer over 100,000 certificates for programs in project management, UX design, and data analytics. The certificates are created and taught by Google employees, do not require a college degree as a prerequisite for enrollment, can be completed in three to six months, and can be taken virtually. Google says it will consider all of its certificates as the equivalent of a four-year college degree for related roles at the company.
The demand for specific skills will change the way companies hire and promote their employees. By offering credentials and, in some cases, college courses directly through the employer, organizations are giving the future workforce options when even a generation ago, there weren’t many to choose from. The path between education and employment was linear, when today there are over 30 million credentials to choose from on Credly’s platform alone.
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