States are addressing the challenges of our time: the critical connection between college success and economic prosperity. Higher education attainment is essential to the nation and every state. Governors and legislatures across the United States are wrestling with how best to serve the mighty goal to build a smarter workforce. There is no cookie cutter approach that will satisfy all regions, but there is a common theme that technology can help bring parties together to foster outreach, engagement and better information to guide traditional and adult learners.
The first challenge facing state-wide initiatives is the varied, disparate and often incomparable technologies employed by institutions of various types, sizes and mission. The built-in methods, practices, vocabularies and tools underlying each institution are not readily comparable. It is difficult to distinguish what is common versus what is comparable in value, cost and outcomes. Colleges and universities market programs of study, the value of how they deliver educational outcomes and the recognition by others that aligns with expectations.
The second challenge facing state-wide initiatives is the myriad of initiatives, good intentions and approaches leading to increased access, enrollment and eventual success. The difficulty and rigor of attending college or university differ greatly, making it more important for learners and families to understand the commitment and investment. Navigating the educational choices is not easy - even for those of us in higher education.
The third challenge is the seismic shift that is under way is not a shift from low-skill occupations to high-skill occupations. It’s that almost all jobs are becoming higher-skill jobs. This means our emphasis has to focus on helping all citizens find their best path to life long learning as industries emerge, shift, evolve, mature and even decline in shorter timeframes. How do we serve constituents spanning their interactions and instances of life long learning if they are deemed separate and standalone?