The Harvard Business School Association of Boston recently held a panel with industry stakeholders to discuss the need to include more experiential curriculum in education at all all levels including private, k-12, and post-secondary levels. The focus is more on technical and technology training for skilled positions at the middle level. There are a number of benefits for such programs.
First, it is important to understand that not everyone needs a Ph.D to succeed. Higher education has been focused on theoretical understands and research that furthers the intellectual capacity of the nation. Even though this great it does come with a cost when the masses are being trained for something they do not necessarily need.
An economy is much like a business. If you don't have the right skill in the company you will need to either train existing workers, hire new ones, or outsource. American companies are finding themselves outsourcing work and hiring workers from overseas because they don't have enough home grown talent in the right places.
A huge percentage of jobs are in the middle income levels but require specific technology, STEM, and industry knowledge to compete. This is where schools can do a better job at preparing students to take on these jobs at a higher level than other nations. Focusing efforts on the middle helps ensure that people are finding gainful employment while still receiving a solid education.
It also helps the nation continue to adjust higher education to the needs of the economy. There has been some criticism that higher education is not really preparing people for jobs that they can actually take. Focusing more closely on industry needs ensures that education stays relevant and people are finding employment.
Improving the intellectual and human capital of the nation is an important affair. There is a balance between creating knowledge and applying that knowledge. Some will be researchers that expand intellectual capacity while others will be users of that knowledge. Universities that infuse a little more industry knowledge into their curriculum will find it to be relevant and practical. Starting people at a younger age learning the right kind of skills can make an impact throughout their educational paths.