One Stop Shop

This is critical breaking news for youths of the nation looking for functional education that works for them.

A new rethinking advocates that technical, vocational training with tertiary institutions like TAMCC is really all the education you need to secure economically viable employment in Grenada, or anywhere for that matter, so look no further.

Forbes Magazine (2014) reported the Economic Success Metrics (ESM) of college and university graduates in Florida and neighbouring states that showed job earnings for college graduates of technical vocational orientation significantly exceeded their counterparts with bachelor’s degrees.

Empirical research found job growth demand averaging 48.5% greater for associate degrees than all advanced degrees.  Liberal arts and social science degrees had considerable lower yield-earning dividends than technical certificates.

Even diplomas that are occupationally focused in specialised fields are outpacing standardised university credentials.

The U.S. Bureau of Labour Statistics supported the amazing findings reporting that: (i) the fastest growing industries only require college certificates, (ii) two-year technical certificates in specialised fields offered better returns on investment, and (iii) in knowledge economies, proficiency in modern technologies enjoyed considerable preference over standardised degrees.

Another study, “Workforce 2020: Work and Workers in the 21st Century”, reported 65% of future jobs would only require associate degrees or advanced technical training. These favourable findings reflect the increasing concentrations of associate degree students in high-demand fields.

The employment trends reported here are not isolated cases but a fast-growing global norm.  In these times of changing economic dynamics, organisations, companies, and economies reconstruct and redirect to meet new challenges and remain viable. And with rapid technological advancement in all fields there are radical reconfigurations of global workplace demographics everywhere.

A community college is a tertiary institution providing two-year academic programs and career-oriented skills training. The term “community” implies colleges respond to industry and workforce demands of community economies. It is unfortunate many students consider an associate degree just the gateway to a university degree in liberal arts and the humanities.

However, there are more important reasons community colleges are the better option. First, thousands are saved with a college subsidizsed education and living at home. Second, technical skills and cutting-edge technologies are direct pathways to employment. Third, this education is specialised and customised for the job market.  And the credit transfer facility remains an option.

Many students attend universities from peer pressure (the “crowd psychology syndrome”), it is the fashionable thing to do, or because it is a status symbol. Others believe the bigger the institution, the beautiful façade, the better the education.

It is not a smart choice based on sound economic logic or value-added analysis and oftentimes the degree chosen has nothing to do with their real life aspirations.

For ages we have been brainwashed to believe that a university degree guarantees instant success in life and must be obtained whatever the cost and sacrifice. So young graduates get a culture shock when all their precious university academics seem alien to work environment practicalities.

Job entrants need considerable retraining and re-education to master even basic on-the-job skill competences.

Sociologist Emile Durkeim said “education trains the skills required for socio-economic needs” qualifying education as a function of success and in our society money is success. Therefore, if a bachelor degree cannot make money it is not functional.  It is just a useless piece of paper.

The merits of university degrees have been highly overrated to the detriment of real life skills. Thousands of successful people never attended university and were school dropouts, examples, investor tycoon Peter deSavary, Microsoft multi-millionaire Bill Gates, science genius Albert Einstein, and Oprah Winfrey America’s only black billionaire.  These people opted to drop out to practice their real life skills and have succeeded beyond expectations.

The Grenada economy is at the crossroads undergoing serious fiscal and economic restructurings. Overtime, as the economy evolves new configurations and business modalities, it will not be business as usual and graduates need enhanced skills for the challenges ahead.

TAMCC is strategically positioned to build the strong nexus between education and the domestic economy and must be applauded for its vocational initiatives.  But there is much to be done.

The School of Arts and Applied Technology (SAAT) should be the epicenter of our community college, the capacity-building hub of TAMCC value chain, everything else revolving around it.

SAAT must become the college’s signature institute, a center of learning and excellence with world-class, state-of-the-art technology, and top ranking human faculty. Scientific sophistry incentivises and attracts young people and they gravitate to it.

As employment demands evolve, TAMCC must refocus and redirect priorities to be relevant to the community. The SAAT imperative must be promoted by raising a new awareness among policy makers, student population, and faculty.

TAMCC is not anybody’s backyard factory manufacturing products for their frontline consumption demands.  Make TA Marryshow Community College a “one stop shop” for education that empowers the youth population and the nation.

Jay Bruno

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