higher education: we are now competing globally

It seems America is at a point where we are cutting higher education, cutting student loans, and making it more difficult for US citizens to attend college. However, in my opinion, America should be looking at the big picture, and here is why: We are now competing on a global level. The US isn’t competing against the US. The US is competing against every other country to be the best. So here are a few interesting things to think about as America decides what they want to do with higher education:

1.  According to the chronicleThe United States is projected to be the largest and fastest-growing destination for foreign students over the next decade.

Why? We do not have enough qualified people (with Masters or PhDs) in the fields of science, technology, engineering, or mathematics to fulfill jobs. As our unemployment rises and we have less skilled workers whose factory jobs are being sent overseas, what is left? White collar jobs that Americans are not qualified for. This is one of the reasons apple claims to have outsourced its engineers.

2. According to an article on NBC news, Americans are losing jobs to foreigners who are more qualified and have visas to work here because America does not have enough “smart” people (im just saying what’s in the article not my opinion. I believe we have tons of smart people but I get the point they are making).

3. Most American graduate programs have more foreigners than american. Thus American graduate programs are made up of mostly foreign students and obviously it makes sense that these students are the ones getting the better jobs.

Look at these stats from a BBC report:

foreign students make up the majority of enrollments in U.S. graduate programs in many STEM fields, accounting for 70.3 percent of all full-time graduate students in electrical engineering, 63.2 percent in computer science, 60.4 percent in industrial engineering, and more than 50 percent in chemical, materials and mechanical engineering, as well as in economics (a non-STEM field).

So what are the solutions? Invest in higher education. Try to increase enrollment in science, engineering, technology, math and many other fields. Give students assistantships that pay tuition. Many students come to america sponsored by their home country while our students have to take out huge debts to get a Masters or PhD that might only make 60-100k a year. Really though the best thing we can do is to follow the models (and improve them) from the countries that are getting their students into these fields. The global workforce is an amazing thing and I am glad to be a part of it but its also something that we need to pay attention to so that we stay competitive.

Tweets, not résumés, to get a job?

This is an interesting article in usatoday this weekend. Apparently this company is looking for employees with ‘online personalities’ regardless of what they can do. While I think the article is a bit extreme I do see this becoming a trend. However I just was having a discussion this weekend with a colleague and we were discussing how ‘recommendations’ within social media sites like linkedin were not very valuable as people who did not know either of us had recommended us and added skills to our profile in hopes that we would do the same to theirs. Here is a quote from the article:

“The paper résumé is dead,” says Vala Afshar, chief marketing officer at the tech firm Enterasys Networks that is in the process of hiring a six-figure, senior social media strategist based on tweets. Afshar refuses to even look at résumés. “The Web is your résumé. Social networks are your mass references.”

Beginning Monday, job prospects can begin tweeting for the job, which he hopes to fill by April. “I believe the very best talent isn’t even looking for work,” Afshar says. “They’re mobile and socially connected and too busy changing the world.”

Think of it as a 140-character job interview. Even the folks at Twitter are a bit surprised. “I don’t think we’ve heard of that before actually,” says spokeswoman Alexandra Valasek in an e-mail.”

“It didn’t matter to me what they’re like in an interview setting,” Biebert says. “All that mattered was their online personality.”

What do you think?