Workers need skills — and a credential

Skills, With No Credential, Are No Longer Enough, writes Ed Sector’s Kevin Carey in the New York Times‘ Room for Debate.

“There are good, decent men and women who go out and work hard every day and put their skills to test that aren’t taught by some liberal college professor,’’ Rick Santorum said. The important word in that sentence is skills. It is very difficult to earn a decent living in the modern economy without a concrete set of skills and a credential to back them up. And the more complicated the world gets, the more complex skills the job market requires.

Take auto mechanics. According to the Georgetown Center on Education and the Workforce, in the early 1970s, most auto mechanics had never finished high school. One in three had a high school diploma, and a scant 7 percent had been to college or earned a degree. Then automobiles became increasingly complicated. So auto mechanics began going to school to learn advanced skills and get credentials. By the late 2000s, only one in five had dropped out of high school. By contrast, more than one in three had gone to college.

The Obama administration “has worked to boost need-based financial aid and invest in community colleges,” which serve adults, laid-off workers and other non-traditional students, Carey writes.

POSTED BY Joanne Jacobs ON March 7, 2012

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