The Issue of Competitiveness and Skills-Training in Continuing Education Today
The ongoing debate between government and industry as to the adequacy of our present educational system serves to demonstrate two key points: employer needs are not currently being met by the educational system, and prospective employees are lacking the appropriate skills, knowledge, and training to take up the many available positions.
Universities and the K-12 system are often held responsible for this situation--universities for their unbending adherence to traditional academic subject areas and content, and the K-12 system for failing to create among graduating high school students an awareness of (and, consequently, a demand for) the need for more appropriate skills training. Some have argued that continuing education units are in an enviable position to fill this gap, but not all continuing educators embrace this view. This paper attempts to address these issues by delving into the available data, the purported causes, the possible solutions, and the role of continuing education in this debate.