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One night in December, the gap that was most important to me was not that of skills, but that of Big Stone Gap. I was asked to speak at the annual meeting of Virginia Community Colleges and had the chance to have dinner next to a recent graduate from Big Stone Gap, Virginia. I professed the ignorance of the city, which was greeted with disbelief by others at the table. Big Stone Gap was famous, I'm told, because that's where Elizabeth Taylor choked almost under a chicken bone.

During my dinner, I almost choked, "That's why Big Stone Gap is famous? A city that has existed for hundreds of years? A nod around the table, including my embarrassed young friend. After dinner, I searched and found what must be one of the strangest titles in the history of the Good Medical: "A chicken bone in Elizabeth Taylor's throat." In 1978, Taylor accompanied her seventh husband, Senate candidate John Warner, during the election campaign. At Fraley's Coach House in Big Stone Gap, she went to the kitchen to greet the chef. He offered her a chicken wing that she swallowed and a two-inch bone lodged in her esophagus. According to To post "Despite the efforts to dislodge him with a fluffy bread hunter … he refused to budge."

Elizabeth Taylor and John Warner around chicken bone. By John Barrett / PHOTOlink / MediaPunch / IPXJohn Barrett / MediaPunch / IPx

My thoughts turned to lack of skills. Despite tens of millions of workers out of position relative to the needs of employers, despite millennia lagging behind previous generations on all economic indicators, our postsecondary education and labor force development systems work refused to move.

Just as Elizabeth Taylor's life was in danger, I am convinced that America is too. The lack of skills and its impact is reflected in our main national problem: the feeling that good jobs are out of reach; the feeling that the American dream is dying and that it is unlikely that our children will do as well as us; and loss of real economic output. All this has led to a loss of hope, an increasing gap between urban and rural areas and political extremism.

Employers must accept much of the blame. They embrace new technologies without investing in talent, assuming qualified candidates come to their door. As recently illustrated by Amazonthey concentrate highly skilled and well-paid jobs in "winning" urban areas, dispersing low-wage jobs elsewhere. And they continue to rely on degree requirements as a practical way to exclude hundreds of candidates for entry-level jobs. But blaming employers weighs heavily on windmills. The last century has established that allowing private actors to make economic decisions to maximize their profits produces much more wealth, globally and per capita. We must accept evil with good. And ensuring that premiums and opportunities are equitably shared is the responsibility of the public, private, not-for-profit and impact-driven sectors.

Our current system of universities, colleges, community colleges and labor councils is ostensibly tasked with solving these problems and serving the public good. And public policies continue to rely on them with a remarkable and unsustainable level of exclusivity. Only accredited post-secondary institutions are eligible to participate in federal programs of financial assistance and state grants. Private savings is also limited; 529 education savings plans can only be used at accredited colleges and universities.

Even the Innovation-Land congressman did not understand what innovation means here. Ro Khanna represents the 17 of Californiath District, which includes Silicon Valley. His recent op-ed in the New York Times begins with a controversy over the future of work ("many traditional industries become digital", eg hospitality, agriculture, and how "in the next 10 years, nearly 60% of jobs could be automated by a third by artificial intelligence ") before proposing His solution:" We must provide additional funding to community colleges and universities that grant land grants to establish technology institutes in abandoned areas. "

Although Khanna means well, there are two ways for traditional higher education to make its best impression in chicken bone by stubbornly refusing to move. The first is that colleges and universities continue to turn the paternalistic fantasy that the only way to actively participate in a dynamic economy should require 120 credits in a college classroom. Khanna quotes the new West Virginia University Institute of Technology in Beckley. And although WVU Tech offers diploma programs such as aviation management and electronic engineering technologies that are much more likely to lead to good first jobs than programs leading to a pseudo-professional like the commerce and marketing, they are all programs leading to a bachelor's degree.

The problem, of course, is that the typical American Khanna is most concerned about the possibility of spending four, five, or six years in a post-secondary program or stream without health problems, personal problems, or family problems. annoy. The idea that the university is the only way possible has been born and nurtured over the past 50 years by elites whose health, personal and family circumstances have made them easy. And if they have benefited from this experience, why should not others?

The consequences of this approach are now clear. Half of college students since 1980 never graduated and many give up with student loan debt, worse than if they had never signed up. This is particularly cruel for older manufacturing workers who need extra skills and retraining to keep their heads above the water. We told them that their only option is to go through a college classroom where they probably did not succeed years ago. In ten years, we will look back and say that it was crazy to believe that the only solution was a traditional classroom in an accredited post-secondary institution.

The second problem is that because we are suspended from monumental diploma programs, admission requirements and processes are complex, cumbersome, and essentially based on the demonstrated ability to take advantage of them. Standardized test scores and cumulative average provide more information about family income and candidate stability than potential, not to mention the need for a boost. The "holistic review", as all schools claim, is a showcase while new approaches stay in their childhood. Millions of Americans on the wrong side of the skills shortage have been dissuaded from applying in the first place. Millions of others have been rejected from the programs they need.

The result was brutal for the consensus of the colleges. A few months ago, Boston – who despite everything Spinal Tap could say, remains a fairly important university town – tried to find out just how brutal. WGBH, Boston Public Radio, commissioned a national newspaper survey and found that 55% of Americans no longer thought that the university was "necessary to progress in life" and only four in 10 respondents under the age of 40 felt that the university was even worth the effort. To be frequented. (Unfortunately, last month, Boston became a little less a university town, Newbury College And as the Democratic presidential candidates begin to throw themselves into the ring, I would not want to add that free college does nothing to solve either of these two problems. In fact, this exacerbates them by reaffirming the importance of the traditional college for those who lack the most current system.

in the Good Medical Cathy Davidson, of CUNY, last week rejected responsibility for higher education for the skills gap, saying "the most relevant education in the world can not change a labor market rigged against class average. It is a social problem, not a problem of higher education. But even if she is right (and she does not have it), mission-oriented public and non-profit universities should be motivated to try to solve this "social problem" rather than sitting around throwing stones. on capitalism. To paraphrase Donald Rumsfeld, you are sending young people to the job market you have, not to the job market you would like or would like to have later.

WVU Tech offers a program without a diploma: a certificate in Fraud Management: a metaphor appropriate for the weak efforts of higher education to date to solve these problems. They remind me of Elizabeth Taylor's "fluffy bread hunter". What saved her life was a rubber tube that the nearby Lonesome Pine Hospital inserted into her esophagus to physically push the chicken bone into her stomach.

In this case, the rubber tube is a paradigm shift in the way we think about programs and models to discuss, promote and support. Determining the quality of education has become so complex and nuanced that it reminds me of medieval debates about the number of angels that can fit on the head of a pin. What needs to be done is a simplifying approach: does this program or program lead to good first jobs, that is, full-time jobs, generating $ 50,000 or more, with clear career paths in a stable or growing sector? If that is the case, it deserves enthusiasm. If this is not the case, we must direct our resources elsewhere.

Examining our postsecondary education and workforce development systems from this perspective is intended to clarify. Certainly, we have many other goals that are not reflected in career and economic success. But the numbers do not lie; to continue to direct public (non-profit and capital) resources to institutions and programs where the economy does not work reminds me of nothing more than the last days of the Soviet Union. (Newbury College knows what I'm talking about.)

The other lesson I learned from Elizabeth Taylor's chicken bone is that no one wants to remember the person from the city where she almost choked. We all want to make our mark by making a difference. And making a difference usually means doing something different.

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One night in December, the gap that was most important to me was not that of skills, but that of Big Stone Gap. I was asked to speak at the annual meeting of Virginia Community Colleges and had the chance to have dinner next to a recent graduate from Big Stone Gap, Virginia. I professed the ignorance of the city, which was greeted with disbelief by others at the table. Big Stone Gap was famous, I'm told, because that's where Elizabeth Taylor choked almost under a chicken bone.

During my dinner, I almost choked, "That's why Big Stone Gap is famous? A city that has existed for hundreds of years? A nod around the table, including my embarrassed young friend. After dinner, I searched and found what must be one of the strangest titles in the history of the Good Medical: "A chicken bone in Elizabeth Taylor's throat". In 1978, Taylor accompanied her seventh husband, Senate candidate John Warner, during the election campaign. At Fraley's Coach House in Big Stone Gap, she went to the kitchen to greet the chef. He offered her a chicken wing that she swallowed and a two-inch bone lodged in her esophagus. According to To post "Despite the efforts to dislodge him with a fluffy bread hunter … he refused to budge."

Elizabeth Taylor and John Warner around chicken bone. By John Barrett / PHOTOlink / MediaPunch / IPXJohn Barrett / MediaPunch / IPx

My thoughts turned to lack of skills. Despite tens of millions of workers out of position relative to the needs of employers, despite millennia lagging behind previous generations on all economic indicators, our postsecondary education and labor force development systems work refused to move.

Just as Elizabeth Taylor's life was in danger, I am convinced that America is too. The lack of skills and its impact is reflected in our main national problem: the feeling that good jobs are out of reach; the feeling that the American dream is dying and that it is unlikely that our children will do as well as us; and loss of real economic output. All this has led to a loss of hope, an increasing gap between urban and rural areas and political extremism.

Employers must accept much of the blame. They embrace new technologies without investing in talent, assuming qualified candidates come to their door. As Amazon recently shows, they are concentrating high-skilled, high-paying jobs in "winning" urban areas, dispersing low-wage jobs everywhere else. And they continue to rely on degree requirements as a practical way to exclude hundreds of candidates for entry-level jobs. But blaming employers weighs heavily on windmills. The last century has established that allowing private actors to make economic decisions to maximize their profits produces much more wealth, globally and per capita. We must accept evil with good. And ensuring that premiums and opportunities are equitably shared is the responsibility of the public, private, not-for-profit and impact-driven sectors.

Our current system of universities, colleges, community colleges and labor councils is ostensibly tasked with solving these problems and serving the public good. And public policies continue to rely on them with a remarkable and unsustainable level of exclusivity. Only accredited post-secondary institutions are eligible to participate in federal programs of financial assistance and state grants. Private savings is also limited; 529 education savings plans can only be used at accredited colleges and universities.

Even the Innovation-Land congressman did not understand what innovation means here. Ro Khanna represents the 17th district of California, which includes Silicon Valley. His recent editorial in the New York Times begins with a controversy over the future of work ("many traditional industries become digital", eg hospitality, agriculture, and how "in the next 10 years, nearly 60% of jobs could be automated by a third by artificial intelligence ") before proposing His solution:" We must provide additional funding to community colleges and universities that grant land grants to establish technology institutes in abandoned areas. "

Although Khanna means well, there are two ways for traditional higher education to make its best impression in chicken bone by stubbornly refusing to move. The first is that colleges and universities continue to turn the paternalistic fantasy that the only way to actively participate in a dynamic economy should require 120 credits in a college classroom. Khanna quotes the new West Virginia University Institute of Technology in Beckley. And although WVU Tech offers diploma programs such as aviation management and electronic engineering technologies that are much more likely to lead to good first jobs than programs leading to a pseudo-professional like the commerce and marketing, they are all programs leading to a bachelor's degree.

The problem, of course, is that the typical American Khanna is most concerned about the possibility of spending four, five, or six years in a post-secondary program or stream without health problems, personal problems, or family problems. annoy. The idea that the university is the only way possible has been born and nurtured over the past 50 years by elites whose health, personal and family circumstances have made them easy. And if they have benefited from this experience, why should not others?

The consequences of this approach are now clear. Half of college students since 1980 have never graduated and many are leaving with loan debt, which is worse than if they had never enrolled. This is particularly cruel for older manufacturing workers who need extra skills and retraining to keep their heads above the water. We told them that their only option is to go through a college classroom where they probably did not succeed years ago. In ten years, we will look back and say that it was crazy to believe that the only solution was a traditional classroom in an accredited post-secondary institution.

The second problem is that because we are suspended from monumental diploma programs, admission requirements and processes are complex, cumbersome, and essentially based on the demonstrated ability to take advantage of them. Standardized test scores and cumulative average provide more information about family income and candidate stability than potential, not to mention the need for a boost. Holistic revision, as all schools claim, is a showcase as new approaches are still in their infancy. Millions of Americans on the wrong side of the skills shortage have been dissuaded from applying in the first place. Millions of others have been rejected from the programs they need.

The result was brutal for the consensus of the colleges. A few months ago, Boston – which, despite what Spinal Tap might say, remains a fairly large university town – has tried to discover how brutally. WGBH, Boston's public radio, commissioned a national poll and found that 55% of Americans no longer thought college was "necessary to progress in life," and only four in 10 respondents under the age of 40 think that college is even worth attending. (Unfortunately, last month, Boston became a little less a university city, while Newbury College announced that this semester would be the last.) And as Democratic presidential candidates begin to throw themselves into the ring, I am I do not want to add that the free college does nothing to solve either of these problems. In fact, this exacerbates them by reaffirming the importance of the traditional college for those who lack the most current system.

in the Good Medical Cathy Davidson, of CUNY, last week rejected responsibility for higher education for the skills gap, saying "the most relevant education in the world can not change a labor market rigged against class average. It is a social problem, not a problem of higher education. But even if she is right (and she does not have it), mission-oriented public and non-profit universities should be motivated to try to solve this "social problem" rather than sitting around throwing stones. on capitalism. To paraphrase Donald Rumsfeld, you are sending young people to the job market you have, not to the job market you would like or would like to have later.

WVU Tech offers a non-degree program: a certificate in fraud management: a metaphor appropriate for the weak efforts of higher education to date to solve these problems. They remind me of Elizabeth Taylor's "fluffy bread hunter". What saved her life was a rubber tube that the nearby Lonesome Pine Hospital inserted into her esophagus to physically push the chicken bone into her stomach.

In this case, the rubber tube is a paradigm shift in the way we think about programs and models to discuss, promote and support. Determining the quality of education has become so complex and nuanced that it reminds me of medieval debates about the number of angels that can fit on the head of a pin. What needs to be done is a simplifying approach: does this program or program lead to good first jobs, that is, full-time jobs, generating $ 50,000 or more, with clear career paths in a stable or growing sector? If that is the case, it deserves enthusiasm. If this is not the case, we must direct our resources elsewhere.

Examining our postsecondary education and workforce development systems from this perspective is intended to clarify. Certainly, we have many other goals that are not reflected in career and economic success. But the numbers do not lie; to continue to direct public (non-profit and capital) resources to institutions and programs where the economy does not work reminds me of nothing more than the last days of the Soviet Union. (Newbury College knows what I'm talking about.)

The other lesson I learned from Elizabeth Taylor's chicken bone is that no one wants to remember the person from the city where she almost choked. We all want to make our mark by making a difference. And making a difference usually means doing something different.