As a nation we rely on our higher education institutions and corporate training to teach people the necessary skills to live and work. While higher education is focused on general skills, training focuses more on specific skills needed to complete the job. The future of education reform may include different types of educational options like traditional land grant universities, online universities, certificate programs and corporate sponsored training.
Land Grant: Traditional universities, endowments, and tax payer money to keep them running. They are considered the "gold standard" in education but are expensive and have difficulty serving non-traditional students and returning professionals. In the process of reforming as it falls behind other countries.
Online Education: Mirrors traditional universities but don't have large campuses. They are streamlined and generally don't have large overhead. They are cheaper when you consider the cost of lost work and housing that may accompany some traditional programs. They are better able to serve non-traditional and returning professionals. The modality is currently being integrated into traditional education and will have a growing demographic.
Certificate Programs: Online and face-to-face certificate programs that show mastery over a specific skill set. Is an alternative to formal education and works well with skilled trades, technology and I.T. Works well with higher education and corporate training.
Corporate Sponsored Training: While higher education fails to fill the skills gap, a greater burden will be placed on companies to train their own people. Special training within companies, partnering companies, and outside vendors help people to learn specific skills that can be directly applied to the workplace.