It’s Time To Curb The College Degree Obsession

The Power of Empathy and Education image

Right now there are 1.4 job openings for every unemployed person in the United States. Companies of all sizes continue to sound the alarm over the challenge of filling open positions at all levels.

Yet they continue clinging to the notion that many low- to mid-skilled jobs require a college degree when it’s clear that an experienced non-college candidate or otherwise certified or credentialed person could not only fill these roles but perform them exceptionally well.

Why do they do so?

It’s a quick way to narrow down a long list of candidates and provide a sense of making a “safer choice” in hiring. And whether it’s a recruiter trying to protect their reputation by not taking “risks” on non-college hires or hiring managers who have degrees themselves and harbor some snobbishness about those who don’t, the prevalence of requiring college degrees is widespread.

But is it effective?

Not necessarily according to a recent piece in the New York Times which highlights an interesting trend among non-college graduates: STARs, short for “skilled through alternative routes.”

Byron Auguste, co-founder of the non-profit Opportunity@Work, seeks to give such STARs a better chance at getting hired. According to the New York Times, Auguste is “haunted by the invisible tragedy of successful careers that never happen because applicants without college degrees aren’t given a chance.”

“It affects first-time job-seekers, those stuck in dead-end careers, and older victims of layoffs who no longer qualify for the jobs they landed at a more forgiving time.”

Eric Matas, chief learning officer at JazzJune, says the company’s platform will serve STARs and others who seek an alternative to college.

“So many people go to college thinking they have to prove something,” Matas said. “We can replace that at JazzJune with bootcamp-type courses that focus on getting you ready to learn, especially if you haven’t done so in a while – something that demonstrates your ability to stick with a set of courses and achieve success.”

Related Articles