Ben Wei was already paying hefty tuition to earn a sociology degree from Bowdoin College, which charged nearly $57,000 at the time, but worried his classes weren’t teaching him skills he needed in the workplace.
So he gave up his winter break just a semester before graduating and paid another $3,000 to take a three-week business boot camp designed to teach him how to work a full-time job.
The course, offered by a company called Fullbridge, covered problem-solving, collaboration and communication—the kinds of skills employers say they want but aren’t getting from college grads.
“You can sit in a room and learn economic theory from a professor or a textbook, but at the end of the day, it’s still just theory,”said Wei, who now works as a data analyst. “They don’t really teach you how to apply that theory.”
More and more programs like Fullbridge are being started up to help students master career skills before starting their first jobs, most costing thousands of dollars on top of the already high price of their higher educations.
Which, for some critics, raises the question: Why aren’t they learning this in college?
“These institutions are notoriously hard to change,” said Steve Farkas, a senior researcher at the nonpartisan organization Public Agenda who authored a study of business leaders’ attitudes toward higher education. “They’re not responsive to real-world concerns and they are very protective of the standard operating procedures.” <Read more.>