Colleges Are Not Delivering on Promise to Grads Even as They Face Enormous Student Loan Debt

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Research shows the number one reason students go to college is to increase their chance of leading a successful career, however, colleges are not focused on helping grads launch their first professional job search, according to a new book, Change It! Create a Career Centered College Culture, by TalentMarks CEO Don Philabaum.

In his new book, Change It! Create a Career Centered College Culture, Don Philabaum suggests colleges and universities are focused on everything, but the number one reason students are going to college -- to get a job!

The Freshman Survey administered by the Higher Education Research Institute at UCLA has reported over the past four decades an ever increasing percentage of incoming freshman who indicate they are going to college to increase their chances of getting a good job. Over 88 percent of the 2013 freshman class indicated they were going to college to increase their chances of getting a good job.

Yet, according to Philabaum, the college culture is built around arcane traditions, curriculum, events, and activities that do little to help students explore career opportunities, learn how to build a career plan or pick up even a basic knowledge on how to look for a job.

To cite an example Philabaum shared, “Our research found over 1,200 colleges that require their students to participate in 20-40 hours of community service activity to qualify for graduation. We’ve had a hard time finding colleges that require students to invest a minimum number of hours in career exploration, career management and learning how to look for a job.”

In fact, there is a shocking trend that colleges are giving less resources to career centers instead of providing them the resources they need to keep pace with the needs of students, grads and alumni in this difficult job market. According to NACE surveys, the average career center took a 15% budget cut in 2013.

All of this is having a deleterious effect on grads' chances of finding employment. “TalentMarks conducted a survey that found 61 percent of grads invested less than 5 hours per week looking for a job.” Philabaum continues, “Why? Because all the average grad knows what to do is post their resume on job boards. Few grads realize, however, that the average job seeker spends 40 hours a month on job boards, which result for less than 12 percent of all jobs offered. Quite frankly, grads are wasting a great deal of time because their college did not require them to invest time on their career.”

This particularly pains Philabaum as the Department of Labor Statistics indicates the average young learner will have 11-14 jobs by the time they are 38 years old. “By not requiring students to invest in their careers, colleges are condemning students to longer periods of unemployment and a greater likelihood of being underemployed.”

Philabaum sites a plethora of research and polls conducted by the Pew Research, Associated Press, NACE, Career Advisory Board and others to build a case that the college culture is focused on the wrong things and needs to be changed immediately. Change It! Create a Career Centered College Culture offers hundreds of ideas and strategies to help college move toward a career center college, now - not next year, not next decade, but now!

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Don Philabaum
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Don Philabaum
since: 08/2009
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