Assaying the output of higher education in Texas, Michael Bettersworth evoked the image of a crippled Apollo 13 craft hurtling into space, its future uncertain.
“Houston, we have a problem, and it’s not that too few people are going to college,” said Mr. Bettersworth, an associate vice chancellor at the Texas State Technical College System. “It’s that too many people are getting degrees with limited value in the job market.”
Students throughout Texas are amassing college credits without knowing whether they will lead to employment, and many face serious debt when they graduate.
Meanwhile, the state’s population of skilled laborers is aging and approaching retirement, and there is a dearth of recent graduates with two-year vocational degrees who can take on those jobs.
Experts say a retooling is in order if the state hopes to expand its manufacturing industry.
As the economy begins to show signs of life, efforts are under way at two-year colleges across the state to make programs more responsive to the labor market. Some Texas leaders are trying to reverse the trend toward encouraging students to attain the highest degree possible. (Read more)