Acton Institute Powerblog

Will That College Diploma Get You A Job?

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Does having a college diploma mean you are ready for the workforce? It depends on who you ask. If you ask those involved with higher education, almost 75 percent say, “yes.” However, both students and employers are less sure: less than 60 percent of those groups feel college grads are well-prepared for a professional career.

What are employers looking for, if not a diploma? They want proficiency in four key areas: communication, collaboration, creativity and critical thinking. With colleges and universities seemingly consumed with avoiding “microagressions” and providing “safe spaces” for students who are offended by everything from a guy who eats meat to a woman who dares to say that pay inequality in the U.S. is a fallacy, it’s hard to imagine there is much constructive communication going on.

As an employer, do you want to hire someone who just spent the last four years of his/her life curled up in a safe space with others who shared exactly the same views, or do you want someone who’s learned to work through differences – even major ones – and is still able to produce quality work?

There is much to be said for education for the sake of education, provided it is true education. It is still worthwhile to study history, literature, science. After all, we don’t want a group of engineers who know how to communicate and collaborate, but don’t know the first thing about building a bridge.

We must strike a balance between sound education and instilling the workplace skills needed in the 21st century.

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Elise Hilton Communications Specialist at Acton Institute. M.A. in World Religions.

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