Colleges Meet New Employer Demands by Evolving Courses

Future College

Many educators think tomorrow’s candidates will be a whole lot more sophisticated in a whole lot of subjects. So, colleges are paying a lot more attention to areas like AI, the metaverse, networking and personal branding as they try to keep up with the needs of both employers and workers.

The Wall Street Journal says there’s growing recognition that students need instruction in a variety of new subjects if they’re going to be ready for the job market’s changing skills and dynamics.

Colleges increasingly recognize that students need new courses to compete in an evolving job market. #HR #HRTech @WSJ Share on X

For example, the Journal said, big tech companies are spending a lot of money to develop products and services for the metaverse. That, in turn, could open up new job opportunities for graduating students, and those new jobs will have new requirements.

That means a number of areas will evolve to keep up with the times. Studies of artificial intelligence, for example, will add courses on the technology’s ethical application, the Journal said. Engineers will need to decide how much risk can be built into machines, an especially fraught notion for applications involved with healthcare.

Texas A&M and more than a dozen other schools are using grant money from Google to develop classes examining just such scenarios, the Journal said.

The Digital Approach

In the metaverse – or, we should say for the metaverse – colleges are encouraging students to take fresh looks at areas such as pricing and cost of production. For instance, a digital New York City penthouse with views of Central Park isn’t nearly as exclusive as the real thing. You can only build one apartment, after all, but the digital property can be copied and sold any number of times. That means the penthouse in the metaverse is less exclusive than the one in Manhattan.

Networking is another area getting attention. Because of the pandemic, students operating from home missed out on learning the social skills that are important to finding and winning a job, and then progressing along a career path. Courses will spend more time on networking and professional ethics, the Journal said. At some schools, courses on basics like creating a resume or a LinkedIn profile will be included in the syllabus.  

For students especially, it may be a relatively short leap from networking to the idea of becoming an influencer. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. In 2023, marketers will spend more than $4 billion on influencer campaigns, the Journal said, up from more than $3 billion last year. Colleges are responding by offering courses on media influence and personal branding.

All of this is good news for employers who bemoan the way many universities don’t keep up with their needs. At the least, these efforts show the schools are trying.

Image: 123RF

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