Colleges don't produce enough grads to meet industry demands, business group warns

by Silas Allen Published: May 1, 2012

America's colleges and universities aren't producing enough graduates with the skills necessary to meet industry demands, warns a nonpartisan business group.

The Center for Economic Development, a public policy organization that seeks to promote economic growth and a favorable business climate, released its report “Boosting Postsecondary Education Performance” on Monday.

The organization warns that falling college completion rates and the rising cost of college are hampering the nation's ability to compete economically.

“Hardly a day goes by that there isn't something said about the increasing cost of postsecondary education,” said Charles Kolb, the president of the organization.

Rather than tackling higher education in general, the report focuses specifically on what it calls broad-access institutions.

Such institutions include two-year and four-year public colleges and universities, as well as for-profit schools. Those institutions have a key role to play, Kolb said, because a large percentage of Americans look to them for higher education.

“We're not trying to fix the whole sector,” Kolb said.

The report marks the beginning of the organization's national campaign to bring business leaders into the conversation about higher education reform.

The report identifies key steps it recommends business leaders take to promote greater efficiency and productivity in higher education, including supporting certain objectives through corporate policies.

The organization recommends businesses direct their tuition assistance programs toward colleges and universities they identify as being the most productive and effective, whether those institutions operate through traditional classroom programs or online.

The report also recommends business leaders convene annual statewide education summits. Such meetings would give business leaders a chance to meet with policymakers, higher education officials and other stakeholders to discuss their concerns and progress made toward meeting goals.

by Silas Allen
General Assignment/Breaking News Reporter
Silas Allen is a news reporter for The Oklahoman. He is a Missouri native and a 2008 graduate of the University of Missouri.
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Hardly a day goes by that there isn't something said about the increasing cost of postsecondary education.”

Charles Kolb

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