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: 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…


The Job: So Long, 2021

Thanks for subscribing to The Job. It’s a safe bet that you all have more than enough to read in your inboxes. I hope to keep making this newsletter worth your time.It’s been a newsy nine months on these beats, amid the Great Resignation, higher education’s o…


The Job: Starting Early

Amid the nation’s messy economic rebound, industries are looking for different ways to attract and credential new hires. And a growing number of companies are starting to recruit earlier—including reaching out to some of the millions of students who are being…


The Job: Vanishing For-Profits

The University of Phoenix was synonymous with online education and the for-profit college sector for many years. And as the first mega university, Phoenix showed how a focus on working adults and career education could work at scale.“They were willing to embr…


The Job: Manufacturing Credentials

Most of the action with short-term and alternative credentialing is happening in the IT, health care, and manufacturing industries. And these emerging pathways to jobs differ across each sector.IT credentialing typically has been dominated by big companies, w…


The Job: Tech Training

Conventional wisdom about coding bootcamps may be due for an update.The sector is expanding rapidly, particularly versions from Coursera, 2U, Emeritus, and other online program enablers. At the same time, several freestanding bootcamps are seeking accreditati…


The Job: Skills and Scale

One of the more promising models for helping lower-income and underrepresented college students transition to the workforce, Braven, is poised to achieve an elusive milestone in the college-to-career space: scale.Spelman College and the nonprofit this week an…


The Job: Microsoft and Google

Big tech companies announced new collaborations with community colleges and other open-access institutions in the past week—and the companies increasingly are putting real money and support behind those partnerships.Microsoft last week rolled out an ambitious…


The Job: A 50-Year Storm

Something is going on with community college enrollments.The pandemic-fueled flux is hardly over. And perhaps students will return to two-year colleges when things settle down. But if preliminary fall enrollment numbers from the National Student Clearinghouse…


The Job: Disengaged Americans

As more big companies offer free college benefits to attract and retain workers, skepticism has emerged about how many employees these programs will help.Rollouts of new tuition benefits have generated mostly positive headlines. But experts have pointed to ty…


The Job: Corporate Urgency

Hiring woes in big tech, health care, and retail are key drivers of alternative education and training pathways that have the potential to go big.For now, most of the experimental programs in this space—including a promising apprenticeship model featured in t…


The Job: College ROI

Broad generalizations about the value of attending college aren’t worth much. But a growing amount of granular data about labor market returns for credentials is emerging, with breakdowns based on student demographics.For example, an August analysis of progra…


The Job: Career Development

“Too often career services are treated like an afterthought on college campuses."That quote is from Michael Carter, CEO and founder of Strive for College. Carter made me wonder whether more colleges are elevating career services.Plenty of news releases cross …


The Job: Degree Requirements

A growing number of businesses appear to be dropping degree requirements in hiring.The potential shift comes as Byron Auguste, CEO of Opportunity@Work, and others argue that privileging job applicants with four-year degrees excludes millions of Americans from…


The Job: Free College for Workers

Companies and colleges are facing similar problems as they seek to attract and retain lower-income Americans. Increasingly, they’re joining forces, blurring the boundaries between education and work as employers struggle with a tight labor market and colleges…


The Job: Maps to Degrees

Charting a path to a degree is often a challenge for community college students. They face bewildering course catalogs and huge caseloads for academic advisers but typically lack relatives or friends who have attended college and can help them navigate the sy…


The Job: Performance Funding

New funding for workforce education and training is likely to come with strings. That’s because it’s easier for state legislatures or the feds to attach performance metrics to new money than to existing student aid programs or direct operational funding.For e…


The Job: Wraparound Supports

Wraparound student supports work. Providing community college students with mentoring, coaching, and career advising can go a long way toward increasing their odds of succeeding—as it is, just 40 percent of community college students earn an associate degree …