Voices from Accenture Public Service


Great collaboration between educators and employers

I have been having a lot of conversation around degree inflation lately. So what needs to change to really tackle this issue and create a world where a student can become a ‘master’ without needing a four-year college degree and employers fill their roles easier and quicker? 

Educational institutions, particularly high schools, vocational colleges, community colleges, and workforce training programs, can partner with employers to co-design curricula and focus on developing the hard and soft skills required in increasingly complex middle-skills jobs. Working together, employers and educators can create a reliable talent pipeline of qualified candidates, streamlining the hiring process for both companies and applicants. 

These are some partnerships I have encountered that have already shown impressive results.  

JPMorgan Chase has initiated partnerships with community colleges to strengthen career-focused education, instead of relying on a narrow set of credentials. In Houston, JPMorgan Chase created UpSkill Houston, which partners with nine local community colleges to share curriculum, update training facilities, and help students understand the opportunity to work in lifetime careers in Houston’s top seven industries experiencing a middle-skills talent gap.  

42 Silicon Valley, a computer programming and software engineering school in the San Francisco Bay Area, uses problem-based learning, peer correction, and peer learning instead of teachers, courses, or classes. 42 doesn’t grant degrees but provides an opportunity for its students (57% of whom have not finished high school, have not gone to college, or dropped out of college) to learn in-demand skills. In a world of rapid digital transformation, 42 offers an accessible, highly rigorous program that’s reducing the skills gap and providing direct pathways to the workforce.  

Additionally, Accenture has partnered with Wilbur Wright College in Chicago to shape an innovative IT curriculum and provide 25 apprenticeships each year. This program is providing a valuable opportunity for hands-on learning in a real-world environment while expanding access to high-demand digital fields like software and programming. 

Leaders in higher education have an opportunity to align skill training to employer needs, while simultaneously creating opportunities for students to gain the work experience that employers are looking for. The time has come to breathe new life into work-based learning experiences, such as apprenticeships and vocational programs, and to support the creation of industry-recognized credentials. For the two-thirds of Americans without a college degree, these employer-educator partnerships can help reopen the doors to middle-skills jobs – and a pathway to a more engaging career.   

Are there any partnerships that combat degree inflation by designing work-based learning and apprenticeship programs that stand out to you?

I am keen to hear about your experiences tackling this issue, leave a comment or send me a direct mail. More Education content can be found on our content hub or check out my other blogs.    

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