Training for a career in beer

Instead of going to college to drink beer, students at three North Carolina community colleges will learn to make beer. With a growing number of craft breweries, Western North Carolina hopes to become the beer-making equivalent of California’s Napa Valley.

Millenials at work

If you’ve hired a “whiny, entitled, passive-aggressive, constantly offended new coworker who has an odd mixture of shaky self-esteem and an inflated sense of expertise,” here’s FAIL Blog’s training video.

Half of STEM jobs don’t need 4-year degree

Half of STEM jobs don’t require a bachelor’s degree, according to a new Brookings report. These jobs in manufacturing, health care, construction, installation, maintenance and repair pay $53,000 on average. That’s more than a barista with a sociology degree earns.

You can live in the basement without college debt

It’s better in to live in your mother’s basement, drink beer and play video games all day than to major in English or sociology, go into debt and then live in the basement, says Aaron Clarey, author of  Worthless: The Young Person’s Indispensable Guide to Choosing the Right Major.

Auto workers retool — or exit middle class

Tesla took over the NUMMI auto plant in California, but isn’t hiring many laid-off workers. New manufacturing jobs require technical training and skills that old-style factory workers don’t have. Some are retraining, but many don’t have the reading and math skills to retool themselves.

In Britain, would-be rock stars can earn a two-year degree in heavy metal music.

4-year vs. 2-year: Does college pay?

Does college pay? It will for the Stanford engineering graduate, but not for the fine arts major from an unselective college — and even less for dropouts. “With unemployment among college graduates at historic highs and outstanding student-loan debt at $1 trillion, the question families should be asking is whether it’s worth borrowing tens of thousands of dollars for a degree from Podunk U. if it’s just a ticket to a barista’s job at Starbucks,” writes Jeffrey Selingo. Meanwhile, workers with community college degrees in technical fields are doing quite well in the workforce.

Most of the fastest-growing jobs don’t require a degree, but don’t pay well either. Personal care and home health aides average less than $21,000 a year and “helpers” in construction aides average less than $30,000.

Generation jobless

Youth unemployment is a worldwide problem, reports The Economist in  Generation jobless. Yet many employers in countries from the U.S. to Morocco say they can’t find entry-level workers with the right skills.

Poor basic education is only part of the problem.

Countries with the lowest youth jobless rates have a close relationship between education and work. Germany has a long tradition of high-quality vocational education and apprenticeships, which in recent years have helped it reduce youth unemployment despite only modest growth.

Countries with high youth unemployment are short of such links. In France few high-school leavers have any real experience of work. In north Africa universities focus on preparing their students to fill civil-service jobs even as companies complain about the shortage of technical skills. The unemployment rate in Morocco is five times as high for graduates as it is for people with only a primary education.

Employers do much less training on the job.

Many countries are trying to improve vocational schools and develop apprenticeships, reports The Economist.

In 2010 South Korea created a network of vocational “meister” schools—from the German for “master craftsman”—to reduce the country’s shortage of machine operators and plumbers. . . . In Britain some further-education colleges are embracing the principle that the best way to learn is to do: North Hertfordshire College has launched a business venture with Fit4less, a low-cost gym. Bluegrass College in Kentucky and Toyota have created a replica of a car factory, where workers and students go to classes together.

Bluegrass is a community and technical college, so job training is part of the mission. Many community colleges work closely with employers on workforce development.

Via Meadia has more thoughts on practical vs. academic education.

From Hamburger U to a degree

At McDonald’s Hamburger University, Jiffy Lube University, the University of Farmer’s and other corporate training programs, employees can learn business skills and earn college credits that start them on the path to a degree.

Gainful employment” regulations will be revised, after being thrown out last year in court. The U.S. Education Department has announced plans to use the regulatory process — not legislation — to advance its college aid and affordability agenda.

The practical university

“Are universities mostly sorting devices to separate smart and hard-working high school students from their less-able fellows so that employers can more easily identify them?” asks New York Times columnist David Brooks in The Practical University. ”Are universities factories for the dissemination of job skills? Are universities mostly boot camps for adulthood, where young people learn how to drink moderately, fornicate meaningfully and hand things in on time?”

Universities teach technical and practical knowledge, he decides.

Technical knowledge — how to do things — can be transmitted just as well online as in a standard lecture class, he writes. The online courses are going to get better in the next few years, putting lecturers out of business. Universities will have to concentrate on practical knowledge, “not what you do but how you do it.”

It is the wisdom a great chef possesses that cannot be found in recipe books. Practical knowledge is not the sort of knowledge that can be taught and memorized; it can only be imparted and absorbed. It is not reducible to rules; it only exists in practice.

In Lean In, Sheryl Sandberg describes how to succeed in the workplace.

. . . the ability to be assertive in a meeting; to disagree pleasantly; to know when to interrupt and when not to; to understand the flow of discussion and how to change people’s minds; to attract mentors; to understand situations; to discern what can change and what can’t.

Students can learn practical skills at a university, “through student activities, through the living examples of their professors and also in seminars,” Brooks believes.

Is this really the university’s strong suit? I learned these skills at the family dinner table and on the job, especially in my years on a newspaper editorial board.

 

The second-chance club

In the “second-chance club,” dropouts, immigrants and people trying to start over must learn to write a thesis sentence, make verbs agree with subjects and master the comma to pass remedial English and move on to college-level courses.

A Wisconsin high school now works with employers to offer 22 dual-credit career classes in business, marketing and information technology. When seniors filled out surveys, three-fourths said they planned to enroll in four-year colleges and universities. It turned out half were going straight to the workforce with minimal skills; only 20 percent enrolled in four-year institutions.