UW-Madison School of Education - In the Media

School of Education "In the Media"

Our programs, students, alumni, faculty and staff are often quoted or featured in local, regional and national media. Read below for what they've had to say...

Reilly calls for 'Common Sense on Colleges and Work-Force Development'

July 15, 2019
Kevin Reilly is the author of a commentary recently published by Inside Higher Ed that's headlined, "Common Sense on Colleges and Work-Force Development."

Reilly is the former president of the University of Wisconsin System and he holds an appointment as a Regent Professor with the School of Education's Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis. He is also a senior fellow at the Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges. 

Kevin Reilly
In his commentary, Reilly focuses on the current debate surrounding education for work. He notes the air of unreality around this phenomena, touching on a curriculum requirement for sixth graders to develop a career plan to guide their paths through middle school, high school, college if they chose, and on into the career they had envisioned. Although Reilly considers this practice to be an education experience, he explains that "it makes little sense to pretend that middle schoolers can and should chart a glide path from preadolescence to settled, wage-earning adulthood."

One of the primary problems with this model, according to Reilly, is that industries and jobs that many students will work for may not be invented yet. He suggests that high schools increase joint school-work opportunities for hard-to-fill jobs that are here now, which will also help develop a bigger, better work force. 

Reilly argues that higher education institutions should also be working to build more pathways that allow students to prepare to enter the work force while thinking about their long-term career arc. The University of Wisconsin System now offers a bachelor of applied studies at several campuses, where students can complete an associate degree at a technical college in a specific applied field and then move to a UW campus to broaden out into their general education. 

Within higher education programs, Reilly spotlights community colleges as key institutions for workforce development and transition. He explains that community colleges can provide applied studies and credential in ways that traditional four-year institutions can't. Reilly emphasizes that this approach is much more realistic than building a career pathway from sixth grade forward. 

To learn much more about this nuanced, important topic, read Reilly's commentary here.
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