America’s Human Capital is Tested
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Human capital is on the decline in the United States, with fewer and fewer Americans obtaining advanced degrees. While Clive Crook questions whether or not an educational ceiling has been reached, he also postures that, "Another plausible argument is that in-work training and mid-life schooling are more important than they used to be and that the figures ignore such assets."
The argument is far more than just plausible. Particularly in highly technical fields, such as computer science, private training is often tailored to the specific needs of a company or niche industry. While earning a masters degree might provide one with a broad foundation of knowledge and skills, it is almost always necessary to have that training be finely tuned to the needs of their employers. Regardless of where the training takes place, it becomes a marketable skill for the employee to take elsewhere.
Having obtained this training almost entirely at the expense of their employers and with minimal intrusion into one’s personal time, it is plain to see that this can become a preferable replacement to higher education. According to the 2008 Corporate Learning Factbook, the business community is subsidizing this educational enrichment to the tune of $58.5 billion each year, mirroring the federal government’s investment in education.
Of course, this expense is also made necessary due to the deficiencies in educational standards and the steadily decreasing rate of high school graduation indicated by Crook. Today’s schools, at every level of education, are simply not succeeding in providing the human capital required to power our nation in a global economy. Statistics like these provide few more pebbles to add to the mountain of evidence showing that serious reforms are needed to our system of education.