I would be interested in knowing how many 2 year students turn into 4 year students. Sure, many of them stop at 2 years and can be lab technicians etc., but does anyone have the numbers on how many in the science track transfer to four year institutions?
Anyone who has looked for an Engineering job in the past few years has surely noticed that there are many companies that have been running what I call perma-want-ad. In other words, they post openings for which they have little or no intention of hiring. I've been told that the opening was filled with someone with a better match to the skills required, yet the ad persists. So either they lied about the position being filled "just to be nice", they "thought" they had a candidate - one who backed out - or they never intended to hire. I suppose they are just trolling for people. Seems hardly "ethical", but I guess, "that's business".
Add to that, the pending layoffs from a local mega-DoD contractor and these other companies have no incentive to hire anyone already employed right now - just wait for the soon-to-be laid-off to appear on the market.
"Even my employer seems to indulge in that, listing a bunch of seemingly phoney jobs, in places where I know darned well they aren' hiring. In fact, where they are downsizing."
Most PUBLIC companies (have STOCK / Shareholders) will post a crap-load of positions that they never intend to fill, because it "LOOKS" much better to potential investors - to see 10 - 20 ... or 100 positions posted (as this "shows" growth ! .... as opposed to downsizing. Seriously, most "Business" topics on EEtimes... - you guys need to get out more ! ! (and no offense, to anyone here....., but) some people that comment - when you talk about "how things SHOULD BE or what WOULD be the RIGHT THING to do" ... What world do you live in ?
I'm also fairly convinced that the "skills gap" is just an excuse companies use to not hire. Even my employer seems to indulge in that, listing a bunch of seemingly phoney jobs, in places where I know darned well they aren' hiring. In fact, where they are downsizing.
It seems undeniable that one deterrent companies have is the taxation uncertainty in the next couple of years, at the very least. The more talk from government about how "everyone" will benefit from radically new policies, how costs will go down for "everyone," the more ridiculous it sounds to those who know full well that they will be footing the bill.
Not saying that community colleges are on the wrong track, though. Teaching people useful subject matter can only help in the longer term.
In electrical engineering, the "skills gap" is actually an experience gap. Not long ago, I was investigating what it would take to acquire a System Verilog license and learn UVM on my own by doing projects. I was told by a recruiter (possibly the most clued in and straight forward recruiter I've ever met) that it "wouldn't matter unless I did the work for a company".
And that's in the chronically understaffed verification field. You can guess how much traction community college training is going to get in areas where the demand is less acute.
The intent of many community college administrators is to at least try to hold corporations accountable by pressing them to work with them on revised curricula. There are companies like Dow Chemical who do more than pay lip service to skills training, but they are unfortunately the exception. The more pressure we put on companies to train and hire, the better the chances they will get off their pile of cash and start investing in the U.S. workforce.
The "skills gap" is a myth. US corporations have long since stopped training employees internally to acquire new, needed skills to build up individuals' capability. As a result, actually undermining corporate strength.
The attitude has been just go hire someone with a specific, rigid skill set list. But if there's not an exact match for these skills, the typical (erroneous) corporate excuse is that it must be the fault of the educational system.
Limited loyalty to employees' careers and training ultimately weakens the very competitiveness that corporations are so fond of touting.
Invest in people and the returns can be great!