Grads are too optimistic about jobs

The class of 2014 is overly optimistic about their job prospects. Only 18 percent of 2014 graduates expect to earn $25,000 or less, but more than 41 percent of 2012 and 2013 graduates are earning salaries in that range

What have college grads learned?

It’s not enough to push more students to a college degree, writes Richard M. Freeland, commissioner of higher education in Massachusetts.  We need a way to evaluate how much students have learned.

As part of Massachusetts’ Vision Project, public colleges and universities have created a statewide framework to assess student learning outcomes.

Apprenticeship vs. college

Apprenticeships are hot, but not all lead to middle-class jobs. A elevator constructor mechanic starts at $67,565 in Florida, more than double the starting pay of the average graduate with a bachelor’s degree. But apprenticeships in culinary arts and early childhood education lead to low-paying jobs.

More earn degrees, but 60% goal is uncertain

More Americans are earning college degrees, but the Lumina Foundation’s ambitious goal — 60 percent of adults with a degree or high-value certificate by 2025 — may be out of reach.

Too many graduates?

Punch worried about overeducated, underemployed college graduates back in 1902.

Employers: Grads aren’t ready to work

Eleven percent of business leaders strongly agree that today’s college graduates have the skills and competencies their companies need, according to a new Gallup/Lumina poll. Yet, in another Gallup survey, 96 percent of university officers believe that they’re effectively preparing students for success in the workplace.

“Something is very wrong when you see the academic leaders of higher education giving themselves an A+ on this while business leaders give them an F,” said Brandon Busteed, executive director of Gallup Education.

National Network, a business group, is working to design industry-specific job credentials that will help young people prove their competence.

Post-college tests could help job seekers

Post-college tests, such as the CLA+, could help non-elite college graduates prove their competence to potential employers.  Grade inflation has eroded the signaling value of a college degree.

California needs more educated workers

California isn’t producing the college-educated workers its economy needs, warns a new report. The higher education system must be redesigned to serve an increasingly diverse and low-income population, the report advises.

Europe: Colleges are ‘unemployment factories’

In France, where universities are derided as “unemployment factories,” Xavier Niel has started a computer academy, reports the New York Times. Would-be programmers, who  pay no tuition and will earn no degree, have to be smart. They don’t have to be high school graduates.

The school breaks with the often-rigid methods and philosophy of the government-run education system wherever it can, and Mr. Niel believes it will produce graduates who are more innovative, more employable, more diverse and more useful to the stagnant French economy as a result.

. . . Despite a national jobless rate of nearly 11 percent, as many as 60,000 computer coding jobs are thought to be vacant in France, the government says, for lack of qualified candidates.

A telecom billionaire, Niel completed high school but not college, reports the Times.

Via Edububble, who also links to another Times‘ story on Europe’s overeducated, underemployed young people. Youth unemployment rates for those 24 and younger are 56 percent in Spain, 57 percent in Greece, 40 percent in Italy, 37 percent in Portugal and 28 percent in Ireland, reports the Times. The story starts in Madrid.

Alba Méndez, a 24-year-old with a master’s degree in sociology, sprang out of bed nervously one recent morning, carefully put on makeup and styled her hair. Her thin hands trembled as she clutched her résumé on her way out of the tiny room where a friend allows her to stay rent free.

She had an interview that day for a job at a supermarket.

Méndez has worked without pay for a sandwich chain and a luxury hotel. Unpaid internships are common.

“To gain experience, she was making plans to form a cooperative to study social issues like gender equality and sell reports to public institutions,” reports the Times.  (Good luck with that.)

In the supermarket interview, she learned most other applicants also had high-level university degrees. Méndez was offered a temporary job stocking grocery shelves and running a cash register. The monthly salary of €800 (about $1,080) is just enough to avoid moving back home with her parents.

“Be careful what you wish for,” advises Edububble. “Sure it would be nice if education cost less and there was little or no student debt, but then there would be even more smarty pants with nothing to do.”

Arts grads are in demand — as nannies

Affluent parents are hiring college graduates as nannies, writes Katy Waldman on Slate.

Fine arts diplomas are especially in-demand, because of the “level of creativity” they bring to childcare. (Whilst other nannies are gluing noodles onto construction paper, presumably, MFA grads can teach your kids how to make the latest Frank Gehry building out of play dough.) Parents also swoon for guardians who can scold their children in several languages, especially Mandarin Chinese.

The ultimate nanny has a master’s degree.