Thousands of American jobs are going unfilled because people are being trained and educated in areas that have little growth or need for new workers, according to national reports comparing job growth, demand, and employee training and education.
Only 5 percent of college graduates in 2012 earned a biological sciences or engineering degree –
the latter being the most sought-after major by employers according to a report published in U.S. News & World Report. Shockingly, even in today’s technologically-driven society, less than 3 percent of these college graduates earned a computer information systems or computer science degree.
Since the majority of students say the ultimate goal of attending college is to obtain a good job, it makes sense to focus on careers in fields that consistently show strong hiring. Institutions of higher learning like Benedictine University realize the value of focusing on training and educating students in areas that meet business demands. However, getting a job should not be the only focus. Benedictine has a long and rich liberal arts history, and its strong science programs consistently produce graduates who are able to advance in science or health care careers while contributing to society. Students are also drawn to business programs, a trend which directly correlates with a strong demand by employers.
But today, a general business degree isn’t enough for employers. The University’s business majors are taught to be innovative and garner hands-on experiences through internships, external volunteer programs, and business marketing and development projects. Benedictine’s Business Analytics major is in high demand in industries that weigh business decisions largely on data manipulations and forecasting.
After seeing the growth and success of its world-renowned Master of Science in Management and Organizational Behavior, the University knows what skills are needed to fill in-demand jobs. Business, technology and science are all linked. Thus, the College of Business at Benedictine developed a Business with Science Applications major which gives students a solid business education with an emphasis on science theory and integration.
Benedictine recognizes the need to increase and better prepare America’s STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) educators. This means training more highly-qualified math and science teachers. Benedictine’s College of Science trains Engineering Science majors. The nation has a demand to fill math, science and special education teacher positions. However, there is an inadequate number of applicants who are properly prepared to assume these roles.
Benedictine does this through its Alternative Teacher Certification Program and through seeking out grants like the $1.2 million Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship Grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF). Benedictine was awarded the Noyce grant in 2012 to help prepare the country’s future workforce to fill an anticipated 1.2 million new STEM jobs needed by 2018.
The grant will allow Benedictine to award as many as 110 students as well as professionals seeking alternative teacher certification up to $10,000 annually to apply toward tuition for a maximum of two years if they agree to work in a “high-needs” school for at least two years teaching math or science.
The University also offers a master’s degree in Special Education to help fill the demand for teachers trained in special education, and a bachelor’s in Bilingual Journalism in response to the need for broadcast and newspaper journalists to serve the nation’s growing Latin population.
Because of a still shaky post-recession American economy and a lingering partisan congressional impasse which has initiated across-the-board cuts in federal spending, no field of study is fully protected from the elimination of jobs and a reduction in hires. Students must be educated and trained in fields that allow for reinvention and retraining as economical shifts demand.
Also, students must create a skill set to stand out as an invaluable hire. Corporations, which are hesitant to hire due to the still uncertain economic climate, know that a new hire is a big investment. They are constantly looking for the perfect candidate, and may interview a large candidate pool for one job and not hire any of them, according to a recent report in The New York Times.
Benedictine University not only provides a strong foundation in liberal arts and sciences, it promotes personal development and values-centered learning which can be applied to any career.
The University encourages hands-on learning and requires internships for many of its majors, including Nutrition, a field which according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics is expected to grow 20 percent faster than the average for all other occupations within the next eight years,
The University also exposes its students to diverse viewpoints and cultural experiences. Nearly 30 percent of the University’s student population is Muslim and another large percentage is of Asian descent. Benedictine understands that the global marketplace reflects the diversity of the world, and graduates who are used to working cross-culturally have a unique advantage entering the job market.
College students need to be reflective when choosing a major – if their aim is to be gainfully employed soon after graduation – and seeking out careers that are in demand in a changing world should be a top priority.
Benedictine University is an independent Roman Catholic institution located in Lisle, Illinois just 25 miles west of Chicago. Founded in 1887, Benedictine provides 56 undergraduate majors, 16 graduate and four doctorate programs. The Chronicle of Higher Education recently ranked Benedictine University as the seventh fastest-growing campus among private nonprofit master’s universities, and Forbes magazine named Benedictine among the top 20 percent of America’s colleges for 2011. Benedictine University’s Master of Business Administration (M.B.A.) program is listed by Crain’s Chicago Business as the fourth largest in the Chicago area in 2011.