More bad news for colleges

Google is launching affordable Career Certificates. From Inc.

Although traditional degrees are still deemed necessary in fields like law or medicine, more and more employers have signaled that they no longer view them as a must-have—Apple, IBM, and Google, just to name a few.

So, if you’re an employer or hiring manager, ask yourself:

Is it time to rewrite our own job descriptions, to eliminate the requirement of a four-year degree?
Can we take advantage of educational programs like those offered by Google and other online platforms?
Or, better yet, do we have the resources to design our own online training, to help increase our pool of qualified candidates and simultaneously provide an additional source of revenue for our business?
Remember: Nowadays, it’s all about skills. Not degrees.

College boosters will argue that it is not merely “all about skills” and that “the college experience” matters enormously. This is also what college marketers will argue, and it is true. The relationships you develop, the living on your own(ish), the common bond, the parties, etc. These may not be the features that colleges are selling, but they (and especially and above all, the status associated with the certificate) are the features consumers are buying.

Also, colleges have been the go-to HR filters for big companies for a long time. While PWC, Google, and tech companies in general will be (and have been) quick to open themselves up to degree-less hires with demonstrable skills and/or promising attributes, I can’t imagine larger and more conservative employers abandoning their reliance on colleges for their first round of candidate filtering anytime soon. But even so, I bet that given the choice between two otherwise similar college grads, they’ll choose the one who holds the Google Career Certificate.

I wonder how big a drop in enrollment colleges can suffer before they become insolvent? Is it less than 10%? Covid, a heightened appreciation for getting an ROI on the money and the 4+ years, and the spotlight shining on all the compelling college alternatives (both new and rediscovered)—all of these developments must have college administrators concerned. I suspect the best of them will innovate, adapt, and bring something new and wonderful to the market, and the rest (which will be the majority) will fail.

 

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