One of the most talked-about terms on the higher education scene is “education-to-employment.” The idea is that colleges and universities unite with partner businesses to serve the needs of today’s young adults, many of whom often have difficulty in finding high-quality employment after graduation. Others postpone their education out of necessity to work in less-challenging jobs.
Kepler, a project of the nonprofit group Generation Rwanda, leads the way in “education-to-employment” by both providing a first-class university education to its students and steering its students into internships and work-study positions with well-known companies which, in turn, benefit from access to well-educated and highly trained workers. As a 2012 Forbes magazine article recognized, the “jobs crisis” will not be solved by the traditional concept of vocational training, but instead requires a focus on the “skills crisis.”
In a recent study conducted by the McKinsey Center for Government, researchers found that on an international level, more than 12 percent of young adults were unemployed. In addition, more than half of employers reported not having access to qualified applicants for their vacant positions. Forty-six percent of the youth surveyed said they had decided to skip college because they lacked sufficient funds to pursue it, or they lacked the time to study while holding a job. Moreover, a large number of youth reported that they do not have the information necessary to enable them to make informed decisions about the best field of study to meet their long-term goals.
Kepler’s students – who pay only about $1,000 in annual tuition for an internationally accredited college degree – receive lectures from major world universities in an online environment, then use what they’ve learned in face-to-face classroom discussions and project creation sessions on campus. This hybrid learning experience , utilizing the best of online tools along with intensive and collaborative in-person learning, has the potential to transform education. Kepler builds employment skills directly into the educational model. Moreover, it anchors theory more firmly within the practical world that students will encounter after they graduate.
At Kepler, students also have the advantage of rigorous career coaching, employment training, and counseling on developing the traits that can make them successful in the workplace. In addition, the fact that Kepler-sponsored internships and work-study plans immerse these young adults in real-world job situations means that they will be able to make a smoother transition into the corporate world.