Giving Compass’ Take:
• Here are three critical ways that higher education institutions can provide support systems for adult learners to help them graduate college.
• What are some of the unique barriers adults learners face when getting a degree? How can donors help support these programs?
• Read about other effective promise programs for adult learners.
Last week, Amazon announced plans to “upskill” one-third of its U.S. workforce. It’s unclear what, if any, role traditional colleges and universities will play in that effort, although the company is already working with community colleges across the nation on other education initiatives.
More broadly, though, the news reflects employers’ need to retool their workforce as jobs automate, requiring a different set of technical abilities. By 2030, around 14% of workers worldwide will need to change up their skill set as a result of that shift, according to research from the McKinsey Global Institute.
Surveys show that employers willing to invest in this training, and that employees are interested in pursuing such learning on their own.
Colleges see an opportunity, too, particularly as stagnating enrollment threatens tuition revenue. Two- and four-year colleges are looking to expand their enrollment of these students, though the former may be better suited to doing so as they’ve long served working adult students.
Below, we’ve gathered our recent reporting about how all colleges can better attract and retain these students.
To serve these students more effectively, recruiting and retention experts recommend strategies like offering more credit for prior work and learning experience and providing support beyond the classroom, like child care and flexible schedules.
Public university systems are joining existing online mega-universities in a play to reach more adult learners online. But traditional, campus-based institutions aren’t always equipped to provide the kind of tailored, on-demand support services these students need. However, they can help colleges compete in an increasingly crowded online marketplace.
“About 80% of community college students say they want a degree, but only about 20% complete it. Aware of this drop-off, colleges are looking to give students more structure to help them stay enrolled through graduation.
Read the full article about supporting adult learners by Hallie Busta at Education Dive.
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