AT&T Missouri John Sondag explains why technology companies are worried about both the present and future workforce. He says the traditional college/university system is not adapting to the needs of the economy and, specifically, technology-based industries. As a result, numerous tech companies have cooperatively launched “nanodegree” programs that allow people to train for entry-level technical jobs online.
“Nanodegrees” are similar to certificate programs offered through a partnership between multiple technology companies and Udacity. Coursework completed through their program is not accepted at most traditional colleges and universities.
Udacity describes the process as “…accessible, affordable, interactive online courses that seek to empower our students to advance not just their education but their careers in technology. We develop courses together with leaders in the tech industry to provide the most relevant and cutting-edge tech education that bridges the gap between academia and the needs of the 21st century workforce.”
Many “nanodegrees” can be earned in under a year at a fraction of the cost of a degree or certificate program earned through more traditional schools.
Sondag explains the concerns tech companies have when planning for future staffing needs and why they are now looking to nontraditional education to fill those needs.
In addition to looking at technology education, this week’s “Missouri Viewpoints” also focuses on an effort to change how Missouri balances STEM (science technology engineering and mathematics) with traditional subjects.
Lucian Spataro, the CEO of the Joe Foss Institute, explains the reasoning for the “Civics Education Initiative” in Missouri. That would require all Missouri high school students to pass a civics test prior to graduation.
He explains why he feels that civics education, including government and history, is essential along with STEM courses. The “Civics Education Initiative” is being promoted to lawmakers in hopes of adding the statewide requirement. Spataro worries that a lack of civics education now could lead to a lack of qualified leaders for the states and for the nation as a whole in the next several years.
The test being proposed is similar to the one legal immigrants are required to pass in order to gain United States citizenship. During the interview, Spataro describes the difference in the rate American high school students pass that exam now and the rate legal immigrants pass it. The difference is significant.
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