You can't blame our college students entirely for their choices. The K-12 curriculum provides very little opportunity for students who want to deliver direct services. The stigma attached to "vocational programs" re-enforces the incentive of more money in those jobs that study rather than do.
Employers should stop using the college degree as a gatekeeper in looking at job candidates. They complain in surveys about the poor attitudes and competence of our college graduates, but they are not ready to reduce the role of that filter in their employment decisions.
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We should also turn down the federal governmental spigot that funds the research that produces no definitive or even near definitive findings. The Administration for Children and Families puts out $150 million per year on researching social programs, for example. This money could be used to hire more and better staff to run these programs.
Are any of these suggestions likely to happen? Not as long as the college-for-all mentality permeates our education system and thinkers control hiring decisions to ensure they can have colleagues who can speculate with them.
Commentary by Bill Coplin,a professor of public policy at the Maxwell School and The College of Arts and Sciences at Syracuse University. He is also the author of, "Ten Things Employers Want You to Learn in College." Follow him on Twitter @ProfCoplin.
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