Moreover, this whole issue seems caught up in the broader macroeconomic downturn. The handwringing about preparedness and educational effectiveness, while a worthy topic, seems ancillary to the issue of massive unemployment and excess capacity. Look again at that chart—every single occupation save five has more claimants than jobs, some hugely so. The only real labor shortage there is in “healthcare practitioners & tech” and there’s no way it could absorb all the excess from the giant blue bars on the left. (Again, that graph is from Maine, but US statistics are quite similar—a few sectors showing many openings, but the vast majority swamped with claimants.) Indeed, I suspect whatever data that one might need to reconfigure community colleges is lost in the swarms of unemployed. The whole idea of colleges providing the wrong preparation for students seems to assume the whole “structural unemployment” narrative, when there is overwhelming evidence of a broad-based downturn. Basically, rejiggering our community colleges isn’t going to help many people if there just flatly aren’t enough jobs.It's really just a blog post, and probably nothing to write home about, but still... Hooray!
Sep 26, 2011
My first piece ever under a real publication: