APLU Calls for New Commitment to Student and Workforce Needs

Work-Balance-Life

A new report from the Association of Public Land-grant Universities (APLU) urges public universities to not only help prepare students for success in life but also to address workforce needs and prepare students for successful professional careers. The report, Ready for Jobs, Career, and a Lifetime: Public Research Universities and Credentials that Count, offers several recommendations for public universities to help better prepare their graduates.

The Interstate Passport aligns well with the recommendations as it focuses on student needs and fosters degree completion and outcomes-based learning. Students who earn a Passport not only complete lower-division general education requirements but also come away with an array of skills that will help them in their further studies as well as any work environment.

The APLU recommendations include:

  • Adapting university services and teaching models to suit a new kind of college student that has different needs than so-called traditional college students
  • Coordinating with other higher education sectors to determine the best ways to link curriculum and programs across different types of institutions
  • Engaging industry to learn and address their workforce needs, including by facilitating planning sessions as universities map current and future curriculum to needed credentials
  • Offering alternative credentialing – such as certificates, badges, or competency-based programs – to help individuals sharpen their skills as jobs and even industries evolve.
  • Providing forums for industry partners to learn about the university’s research and development enterprise
  • Consulting with policymakers to enhance, expand, and refine impact measures to develop capacity for evidence-based policymaking, and
  • Helping to formulate public policy to catalyze industry partnerships and network development as well as co-designing indicators to measure the impact of university-industry partnerships.

APLU President Peter McPherson reminded universities that the debate about the purpose of college is framed as a broad education versus employment readiness, when, in fact, institutions need to do both.