Our vitality depends on our ability to more closely collaborate and accelerate a real, ongoing partnership between education and business to close the broadening skills gap. Our society is too focused on getting students into traditional colleges, never bothering to ask whether that's the best pathway for them.
Companies are telling us loud and clear that they have plenty of jobs for students graduating with associate or technical degrees—jobs that aren't being filled. By not challenging the way we think about education, we're putting our students in an unfair position, asking them to pay large sums for an education that's not right for them while a job that is goes unclaimed. We need more collaboration between educational institutions and industry to ensure that our students have the skills employers are looking for.
We are on the cusp of significant change that, if fully embraced, will lead to an education system that works for everyone. Whether you're a teacher, a parent, a legislator or an everyday citizen, we all must do our part to confidently and boldly embrace change that will lead to innovation and transformation.
The president proposed that every day we ask ourselves three questions as a nation: How do we attract more jobs to our shores? How do we equip our people with the skills needed to do those jobs? And how do we make sure that hard work leads to a decent living? The answer for all three is grounded in giving our students a solid, modern education that is worthy of them. Our economic survival depends on it.