Connecting Industry to Higher Education! A three part solution
An Article by Salman Abedin, Digital Consultant at JWT Fusion and Professor at Szabist.
In the battle for institutional supremacy sometimes we forget the person for whom we are making any application. And so, I propose to bring the little guy, the fresh career starter, the college graduate, the disgruntled middle level exec, the redundant factory worker, the about to be laid off office worker, the center of the discussion. Businesses will always complain that they don’t get enough trained manpower, and colleges will always complain about the lack of business involvement in the college and university system (and this is a world-wide phenomenon). Ad to this the dilemma posed by online courses and MOOCs and you have the perfect storm. The whole higher education to job scenario is being disrupted, and unfortunately many college grads around the world are not aware of what is needed to get them a good job, and how they can enhance their career prospects. That is the battleground which I would like to enter.
My solution is based on three parts:
Part 1: The career app
This part of the solution focuses on the career oriented user, someone who is in the middle of college and is now starting his or her linkedin profile. This app will encourage users to look at data on what skills are needed for success in their chosen field of study and what courses they can take to improve their skills. This will all be based on geography or online / MOOCs. For those already in the market and wanting to go up in their chosen field, this app will help them identify their weaknesses and what they need to do in order to improve. Once the courses have been completed and added to the app, the candidates will automatically appear on the interface of hiring managers at the respective companies, and hence the career oriented candidate will look “ready for market”. For those wanting to make a career switch the app will lay out a roadmap and encourage candidates to achieve gamified goals.
A mentoring component to the app will allow the candidates to seek mentoring from industry veterans and hiring managers looking to give time to help people in career advancement. The mentoring component will also be gamified with mentors getting rewards like badges and points, which can be used as a career advancement tool for them also. An annual mentor convention and awards ceremony will be conducted to give the mentors due recognition.
Part 2: The business data gathering app
This app is targeted to line managers in various organizations, and hiring managers also. It has a simple to use graphical UI that allows users to quickly give an answer to the skill question that is posed to them. They can view how others have responded within their organization and also in other similar companies. Even though participation is voluntary, all participants in the survey and all those who agree to be mentors would be eligible for points, badges and other gamified rewards leading upto the regional and national event, where the best mentors would be awarded.
For hiring managers, an added interface would allow them to see resumes of people who qualify for the skills that have been identified by line managers in their company. Again, a gamification system of rewards would be put into place in order to make the experience meaningful.
Part 3: College Business Responsiveness Index
This part of the three tier system revolves around colleges and universities in geographical clusters who are willing and able to deliver the skills that are identified by the businesses. These colleges would be shown the needs identified, and then they would be encouraged to come up with specific courses to meet the needs. The colleges, departments and campuses that show the most responsiveness would be given a college BRI score, and this score would be uploaded onto a central website and spread through social media, hence giving the college “street cred” with applicants. Hiring and Line Managers would rate the coursework, and student feedback would also be added in to arrive at the score.
The system will work when all three legs of the triad are strong and feed of each other. It is a long term project, and should take a year or so to complete the coding and get by in for a trial. After that, the system can work on its own, in my view.