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The Top (Nontraditional) Education Stories of 2022

2022 was a big year for education!  Forbes recently posted their list of the 10 most important stories for colleges this year, and it covers substantial ground – from President Biden’s loan forgiveness program and falling college enrollment rates to fewer colleges requiring SAT scores as part of their admissions process.

It’s a good list, but it’s also conventional. At Calbright, we’re reimagining college, making it more accessible, more practical, faster, more flexible, and more focused. When we look at 2022, we see some crucially important stories in higher education that people focused on traditional colleges missed.

Here are some of our top stories for higher education in 2022:

Employers Are Increasingly Hiring For Skills, Not Degrees

2022 was the year when this trend broke through into mainstream awareness, with everyone from The Wall Street Journal to LinkIn executives writing about it

Though there’s still notable room for progress, companies from Google and Delta to state governments are dropping degree requirements in favor of hiring employees who have the right skills, whatever their education level. According to a survey from JFF (Jobs For The Future), 81% of employers think they should be hiring based on the skills someone has, rather than the degree they were awarded; and 68% think they should be hiring graduates of programs that don’t even award degrees, as long as the students learn the right skills.

The trend is growing because, as the CEO of LinkedIn wrote: “the most sustainable way to hire and grow more effective, engaged, workforces” is “hiring for skills, instead of just relying on pedigree.”

Companies are increasingly setting up their own training programs

This trend really started in 2021, but it’s picked up steam in 2022, with tech companies developing their own programs to teach the skills they look for in potential employees. Together they’re forming a kind of “alternative education network,” and they’re even developing best practices

They’re not doing this out of the goodness of their hearts, they’re doing it because they are having a hard time finding enough qualified applicants to fill their open positions in areas like IT, Cybersecurity, and CRM Platform Administration

Higher education is often inflexible and slow to evolve when shifts in the labor market do occur. As fewer companies require a full degree for a job, and as more companies begin to offer their own shorter certifications in the technologies they want, there will be  a significant impact on higher education as a whole, creating more alternatives to traditional college.

However, 2022 is also the year it became clear that:

Public Colleges Offer The Best Value To Individuals And Society – Even For Certificate Programs

It’s not just that 11 of the top 12 online programs offering bachelor’s degrees are at public colleges, and it’s not just that a recent study showed that having a public college improves the educational and economic outcomes for the whole region, although these are both important. It’s that for years, study after study has shown that public colleges continue to deliver the best value and access for students. They are the least expensive, most accessible, and provide the most value – even when earning a certificate rather than a full degree. Further, student satisfaction is highest at community colleges.

Most of the conversations around educational innovation focus on what private companies and tech start-ups are doing, but 2022 is the year the research clearly showed that public colleges and universities are where the best results really happen, and they’re innovating too.

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