June 8, 2015

I’ve written several times about the “degree bias” that permeates America’s myopic commitment to the myth of “college degrees for everyone.”

Some of those previous postings have generated comments from individuals who have experienced employment hurdles as a direct result of “degree bias.” I’ll quote from a few, putting my edits in parentheses:

“My boss promised me a promotion but the administrative officer informed me that no such promotion would ever be forthcoming because I lacked a degree . . . . ‘But I have been doing this job for five years,’ I argued. ‘And you do it superbly BUT you are not qualified to do it.’”

“A Cornell professor I heard speak also abhorred the waste of time and money: ‘You don’t need a college degree to sell insurance.’”

“This (the May 31, 2012 blog) made me cry, (had I not been given an opportunity) because I didn’t have a college degree, my life would be much different today. . . . you helped me make a point I have been preaching for years.”

And, finally, from a retired tenured full professor, “I agree. The smartest person I’ve ever known didn’t even graduate from high school. She had learned more from eleven years of schooling than most people learn from . . . oh . . . twenty.”

There is a brighter side to this story, however, and that involves the hundreds of large organizations in the process and manufacturing arena who are providing career paths through their training tracks. These companies have already discovered that the old method of learning (“lecture/reading/testing”) does not work for the majority of their current employees.

Those employees have grown up in a “learning culture” world of video, simulations and gaming. And, that is where we’ll find part of the answer to the “college degree” dilemma.

If an organization will provide the training that truly connects with the majority of their younger employees it can, often, make those employees “invaluable” to their company. When profits grow and expenses shrink, career paths and promotions will be found. It may be only a partial answer — but, at least, it provides some hope for the millions of individuals who do not choose to (or, do not) belong in a college curriculum.

More on Wednesday – – –

— Bill Walton: co-Founder, ITC Learning (Mondays & Wednesdays)