The Job

By Paul Fain

A weekly newsletter about connections between education and the American workforce. Get a veteran journalist’s take on what to watch as postsecondary education and job training systems work to better serve lower-income learners and workers.

A weekly newsletter about connections between education and the American workforce. Get a veteran journalist’s take on what to watch as postsecondary education and job training systems work to better serve lower-income learners and workers.

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The Job: Student Centered

A recently formed group of six colleges and universities is taking the mantra of “listen to students” to the next level—by tapping learners to solve higher education’s biggest problems.The pandemic and related enrollment collapse have prodded many in the indu…


The Job: Hybrid Coaching

The two biggest challenges facing any alternative to traditional college that’s aimed at working learners are: Will it actually attract students?Does the model provide the sort of support lower-income students need to succeed?Hybrid colleges are explicitly de…


The Job: Essential Roles

Government attempts to tie funding for colleges to measures of how their graduates fare in the job market are controversial and tricky to design. Similarly, the student success performance formulas most states now use to fund public colleges can be ineffectiv…


The Job: Transfer Credit

StraighterLine went live in 2009, well before the “year of the MOOC” a decade ago.The online course provider is not accredited. But its low-cost, subscription-based courses have been reviewed and recommended for credit by the American Council on Education. Th…


The Job: Foundation Funding

If alternative paths to college degrees and good jobs are going to work for meaningful numbers of lower-income working learners, the growing consensus holds that both employers and colleges need to be at the table—often with an intermediary organization.A new…


The Job: Work Commitments

The pandemic helped show that money is hardly the only reason why lower-income Americans pass up college. Many lack time to pursue a credential. And they want to have confidence that college will lead to a good job.Employer-sponsored degrees could help more s…


The Job: Sponsored Degrees

Instead of paying staffing firms $25K or more to replace each employee in high-turnover fields, a new project seeks to redirect that corporate spending toward a college degree completion program aimed at hiring more diverse—and loyal—entry-level workers.The e…


The Job: Time Poverty

Hardly a month goes by without a major corporation rolling out a free college benefit for workers. But amid all the hubbub, some question whether the small share of employees who take advantage of these benefits will rise.Only 2 percent of employees who are e…


The Job: Course Sharing

As they struggle with historic enrollment declines, many community colleges are reassessing their online and hybrid programs, including what worked and what didn’t during the pandemic-driven pivot to virtual learning.Online content sharing across a consortium…


The Job: Bypassing Degrees

Opportunity@Work has had a PR bonanza with its campaign for employers to drop degree requirements. Now the group wants to “rewire the labor market” by helping workers without degrees land good jobs.This week the nonprofit rolled out a pilot project with Young…


The Job: Quality Control

The latest Congressional push to open up Pell Grants to short-term programs faces an uphill slog. But it probably won’t be the last attempt.The U.S. House of Representatives passed an amendment last month that would allow students who enroll in some programs …


The Job: Paths to Degrees

Amazon is working directly with colleges on its growing free college program for front-line workers—a lot of colleges, fittingly.The company announced today that it has partnered with more than 140 colleges and universities through Career Choice, the educatio…


The Job: Reboot in Tech

Google’s new $100M tech training fund is the latest in a series of substantial investments by big tech in education programs that are aimed at recruiting and preparing workers for millions of unfilled, well-paying jobs in tech.The new spending typically inclu…


The Job: Community Hubs

A nonprofit group that was a pioneer in helping more community college students get to graduation is expanding its focus to include social and economic mobility, with a goal for two-year colleges to be community hubs for an equitable economic recovery.The piv…


The Job: Economic Mobility

The higher education establishment and the Biden administration this week endorsed the idea of measuring whether students see economic and social mobility gains from attending college.The industry is competitive and aspirational. And few pecking orders are mo…


The Job: Job-Embedded Learning

European-style apprenticeships remain an attractive but rare option in the U.S. They can be expensive to run and aren’t a good fit with our job training and education systems. Also, Americans aren’t keen on tracking young people into vocational paths.Yet vers…


The Job: Employability Standards

We’re learning more about how college students fare in the labor market these days. That’s because researchers are tapping a growing trove of state and federal data to create new analyses on college ROI.Plenty of questions remain, however, about how to use im…


The Job: Cloud Credentials

Few companies have invested more in training programs for their credentials in recent years than Amazon Web Services (AWS).The Amazon subsidiary is the world’s leading cloud computing platform and an increasingly important part of the internet’s infrastructur…


The Job: Work Experience

As companies scramble to hire early-career workers, demand is rising for experiential learning platforms that help colleges connect students with job-relevant training as well as potential employers.Forage, for example, is a last-mile training provider that o…


The Job: A Lost Generation

As the pandemic enters its third year, more evidence is emerging about the damage suffered by children and young adults.School closures and losses in math and reading skills could result in a $17T global decline in lifetime earnings for today’s students, acco…