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Preparing Students for Changing Job Markets

2017-10-05

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  • Chances are that today’s college graduates will get jobs not directly connected to their majors.
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  • A 2014 study by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York found that only 27 percent of graduates from four-year colleges were working in jobs connected to their college majors.
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  • North Carolina State University is trying to help students face the likelihood that their future jobs will not connect directly to their majors.
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  • This fall, the university is offering two days of workshops to help 30 juniors and seniors “design their lives.”
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  • School officials were inspired by a popular class at the Design School at Stanford University in California.
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  • The Stanford class helps students prepare for the future.
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  • Among other things, the Stanford professors say they provide “ideas for what the world needs more of.”
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  • At North Carolina State, three college deans will teach the workshops.
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  • All offer expertise in different fields – Jeff Braden in humanities, Annette Ranft in business management, and Mark Hoverstein in design.
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  • Braden said he hopes students who take the workshops will feel better about themselves.
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  • “I would say first don’t worry that you don’t have everything that other people seem to have. I think that there is a real tendency among people of our undergraduates’ generation to think everyone else has it all figured out and they don’t.”
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  • One reason that young people think others are doing better than they are is social media, Braden said.
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  • “On Facebook, you only see what I put up there. You don’t see all the private things.”
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  • As to advice to students about where the jobs will be, Braden suggests looking toward work that cannot be done by machines or computers.
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  • He also suggests jobs that deal with questions that are a “little fuzzy” to figure out.
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  • By fuzzy, he means that finding solutions to problems is not always clear, or when there is more than one possible answer.
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  • Ranft, the North Carolina State management dean, said students should also think beyond their first jobs after college.
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  • She hopes students will look toward “lifelong professional goals.”
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  • Unlike their grandparents, today’s college graduates are not likely to stay in a job for their entire lives, or even more than five years.
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  • According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median number of years that workers stay on a job was 4.2 years in January 2016.
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  • That was down from 4.6 years in 2014.
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  • “The days of someone working at the same job for his or her entire life are over,” Braden said.
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  • Liberal arts is an area of study that includes literature, psychology, political science, philosophy, sociology and other subjects, including performing arts.
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  • Some believe that liberal arts majors will have a hard time finding a job after college -- given the importance of technology.
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  • Not so, says a report by the jobs website Monster.com
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  • It says that liberal arts majors bring skills to jobs in technology, marketing and business operations among others.
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  • “That's because your studies have taught you how to think critically, research thoroughly, and write well—all of which are skills any employer will value,” the Monster.com report said.
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  • Braden said that he hears from parents who are worried about their students majoring in liberal arts or humanities.
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  • But he recalls asking one of the worried parents what they majored in in college.
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  • ”I majored in English, but now I’m in sales,” the parent said.
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  • Braden responded: “Okay, thank you, you just proved my point.”
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  • By the numbers, the U.S. Census Bureau found that engineering was the major that the produced the highest average salary after graduation, $92,000.
  • [05:32.13]
  • The major with the lowest annual salary was visual and performing arts, $50,700.
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