The newly formed Commission on Higher Education and Employability is a regional endeavor of the New England Board of Higher Education (NEBHE) to be chaired by Governor Gina Raimondo of Rhode Island. The expected duration of the Commission is 10 months.
While New England is world-renowned for its high-quality colleges and universities, the region’s employers remain concerned about a lack of qualified, skilled workers, particularly in technology-intensive and growth-oriented industries. The challenges of low population growth and increasing global competitiveness require policymakers, business leaders and higher education to collaborate to maximize the region’s human capital potential, ensure the economic productivity of its workforce and improve the well-being of its residents.
The purpose of the Employability Commission is to develop an action agenda, policy recommendations, strategies and next steps to align institutions, policymakers and industry to increase the career readiness of graduates of New England colleges and universities—and facilitate their successful transitions to work and sustained contributions to the well-being and competitiveness of the region.
Accordingly, key areas for investigation and deliberation by the Employability Commission include:
Increasing postsecondary opportunities for work-integrated, experiential and cooperative learning (for example, internships, field placements), including via policy incentives and student-aid programs;
Effective use of labor market data and other information to inform programs, policy and practice;
Re-envisioning advising and career services offered by colleges to better align supply and demand and implement best practices and “disruptive” approaches;
In-demand skill “bundles” that might include fundamental IT and coding skills, knowledge of the digital economy, data analytics, cloud computing, technology security and entrepreneurship or other essential 21st century skills;
Policies related to new credentials, including the recognition and aggregation of postsecondary and non-postsecondary training and the work experiences of working adults and veterans.
The Commission will endeavor to answer several critical questions, including:
What are the respective roles of higher education, business/industry and government in increasing employability?
Where are the most acute and evident needs—in terms of student/graduate populations, industry/sector and demand/supply?
How can states better align public policy with institutional policy and practice to increase employability?
What are the primary ways in which New England HEIs can improve the career readiness, employability and work transition successes of their students—and rethink the ways in which they address such issues?
How can HEIs improve the ways in which they frame, assess, document and interpret the knowledge, skills and competencies their students/graduates acquire? How can they engage industry and employers in the process?
What new and/or crosscutting skills that employers seek, for maximum employability of graduates?
What best practices, cutting-edge policies or leading strategies can be adopted in the six New England states and in both public and independent HEIs?
How should institutional and public policy be informed and improved to address such needs and issues?
What rubrics, frameworks or self-study tools can assist HEIs to assess and improve practices and polices related to employability?
What are the best models for linking HEIs, workforce data and business/industry?
How can states and HEIs better document the employment transitions, readiness and outcomes of students/graduates?
Whom may I contact with questions or for additional information?
Please contact Marla Phippen, Assistant to the President, New England Board of Higher Education at firstname.lastname@example.org or 617-533-9519.