A decade from now, we want graduates to say that their education prepared them to gain upward mobility—that the sacrifices they made were worth it.
In a recent opinion piece in the Hechinger Report, JFF senior advisor Nancy Hoffman argued that colleges and universities have an obligation to help students understand and prepare for the world of work.
She said she has found that college students often don’t really understand the relationship between college educations and job prospects, noting that she recently met with community college students who asserted “with unfounded conviction” that a degree alone would guarantee higher wages and improved career prospects.
While many people make enormous sacrifices to go to college, she wrote, many colleges still treat the degree as the end point, “rather than viewing it as a credential that will land students a good first job.”
Given all that students risk to attend school, she added, that has to change.
“A decade from now,” she wrote, “we want graduates to say that their education prepared them to gain upward mobility—that the sacrifices they made were worth it. To achieve that future, colleges must place the world of work at the core of the academic enterprise, not relegate it to a corner of campus bureaucracy.”