Colorado: Graduates’ skills don’t match jobs

Four-year college graduates’ skills don’t match available jobs, complained employers in Fort Collins, Colorado. A local liquor company employs three people with masters’ degrees, including a beer stocker with a physics degree.

A college degree is a valuable investment, but the first four to five years after college are “tougher than they’ve ever been,” said Martin Shields, a Colorado State economics professor.

In Massachusetts, community colleges are working with employers to design job training programs in high-demand fields.

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  1. This isn’t really a surprise, since most college degrees don’t impart skills which are immediately useful on the job (as a general rule).

    A news article showed that 1 in 7 cab drivers have a bachelor’s degree…25 years ago, that figure was less than one percent.

    • How much of that is due to immigrants whose certifications aren’t accepted in the USA?

      • In order to be a cab driver in New York, you must be licensed by the state of New York, and this requires the filling out of the I-9 form, which stipulates your ability to work in the U.S. legally. You’re also required to have a original social security card (which is something only a lawful resident alien or US citizen may legally possess).

        I doubt that rejected foreign applicants on certifications would actually be an issue, since they’d need a valid work visa (I’d assume the state of NY would check such stuff after 9/11, no)?

        • I think that probably what EP is referring to is the situation where you’d have (for example) a dentist or other medical professional from Poland (say) who possesses the licensure to practice in his home country, but said licensure is not recognized by the state. Every once in a while (at least around these parts) you’ll hear in the news about just such a dentist busted for practicing – usually on the immigrant population – without a license.

          • Well, that just sounds like stupidity in government. Perhaps there could be a practical examination and probationary period for people licensed to practice medicine/dentistry/engineering in other countries to prove themselves under our system, before being awarded a license to practice in this country.

            Those are the type of H-1B persons we would want to have in the United States.

          • Maybe you want them, but when American college grads are findinging such dismal employment prospects, I’d rather reserve those slots for the children born and raised here.

  2. lightly seasoned says:

    Well, so much for STEM degrees.

    • H-1B abuse is very well known (see Norman Matloff’s articles and testimony on the issue), but as a general rule, STEM fields require a boatload of math and science, which most U.S. high school graduates are very weak in.

      Unless you can revamp the entire way math/reading/writing is taught in the United States, this will be a thorny issue for years to come 🙁

  3. I think most STEM majors know they will have to go to graduate school to make a living in their field, especially chemistry or physics. Or math.

    As for foreign MD’s. The problem is not licensure, it’s board certification. For example, in Russia medicine is considered a caregiving sort of career, hence the high number of female doctors. But the educational standards are so much lower than in the US board certification here is virtually impossible without significant addition of education.