What is the future of education

The Future Of Postsecondary Education Relies On Changing How We Hire

In 2023, America’s workforce stands at a fork in the road.

Employers struggle to find skilled talent as open positions crucial to our society go unfilled. Our current postsecondary education system often hobbles students with massive debt and places them on career paths that didn’t require a degree in the first place. Still, many workers are shut out of jobs because they lack degrees or cannot access the education needed to meet their full potential.

So where do we go from here? Stick with the status quo or find a better way?

The answer is clear. We need to create more education pathways that better serve all learners and embrace a bottom-up approach that considers each person’s unique gifts. This would allow people to discover their talents in a way that contributes to our economy and would create a skilled workforce that excites hirers.

To do this, employers must empower themselves to shed outdated norms that rely on degrees and years of “relevant experience” and instead focus hiring practices on aptitudes and skills. This would propel careers and industries forward because more people would be allowed to contribute in a way that benefits themselves, employers, and the economy. Some companies are already charting this path by investing in their employees and dropping degree requirements, but challenges and opportunities remain.Stand TogetherStand Together

Explore additional insights from Opportunity@Work’s The Paper Ceiling and Spotlight on STARs in the Workplace.Stand Together

Curious for more research? Find data from postsecondary education and career and technical education surveys led by SkillUp and Charles Koch Foundation.Stand Together

More findings are available from SHRM’s Making Skilled Credentials Work: A New Strategy for HR Professionals.

Opportunity@Work, SkillUp, and Society for Human Resource Management are partners of the Charles Koch Foundation. The Charles Koch Foundation is part of the Stand Together philanthropic community.

Learn more about how Stand Together is transforming education and get the latest insights and ideas from changemakers.


Education and the future of humanity

Editor’s note: We are happy to welcome Cheryl Heller, Ph.D., to The Edge as a columnist. Heller is an artist, writer, designer and entrepreneur who works with leaders at every level to imagine and manifest elegant new ideas, programs and realities that summon the best of humans and nature together.

Bald eagles’ nests, called aeries, are some of the most impressive in the avian world, typically four to six feet in diameter, three feet deep and weighing (literally) a ton. First graders in one class at the Muddy Brook Regional Elementary School are undaunted by this grandiosity, however. Each year they make a trip outside to collect sticks so they can “see what it takes” to build an aerie of their own. According to their teacher, Glen Chamberlin, they “quickly realize the eagles are better at it than we are.” In that one exercise, these young people practice thinking about nature, engineering, experimentation, resourcefulness, planning, and perhaps even humility and respect for other beings. In Chamberlin’s class, first graders are put in situations where they have to work together, evolving from “independent operators” to learners with skills for communicating with peers and classmates, who listen and think about what other people are saying. They also write captivating, incisive poems about life that are both real and thoughtfully original. (Used as illustrations above and throughout this article.)

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