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WorkForce Rx

After a conversation with an ed tech entrepreneur about the rapidly evolving field of non-credit credentials, I looked for a book or paper in my collection that I thought highlighted some of the issues with non-credit offerings from education institutions. I remembered I had a copy of WorkForce Rx written by Van Ton-Quinlivan in 2021 and decided to reread it.

Credentials – Understand the Problems. Identify the Opportunities. Create the Solutions.

If you want to read the most thoroughly researched book about higher ed credentials and the current and future issues involving them, you should read Paul Gaston’s and Michelle Van Noy’s book, Credentials. Paul and Michelle have extensive academic backgrounds including learning outcomes, curriculum mapping, and the connection between workforce development and education. From my perspective, their academic experiences are extremely helpful and relevant to the pending transformation of traditional higher education.

Using ROI for Strategic Planning of Online Education

I’ve known Deborah M. Seymour and Kathleen Ives for a number of years. In addition to other positions, Deborah was chief academic innovation officer at the American Council on Education (ACE) and Kathleen was CEO of the Online Learning Consortium (OLC). When I was president of APUS, we engaged Deborah for a consulting assignment related to an online innovation that we wanted to implement.

The College Devaluation Crisis

Two recent books about higher education that I’ve read and reviewed, After the Ivory Tower Falls and The Great Upheaval, provided excellent context and analysis about why higher education will transform or perish. The College Devaluation Crisis, written by Jason Wingard and published in late 2021, provides a business-like analytical approach to an industry in decline.

After the Ivory Tower Falls

Author and journalist Will Bunch’s introduction in After the Ivory Tower Falls provides an overview of his book in three sentences:

  • “More than a half century after the baby booms and economic booms and the atomic booms of the 1950’s and ‘60s, we are still clinging to the fast-melting permafrost of a now no-longer-new idea that college is the American Dream.”

Fulfillment: Winning and Losing in One-Click America

In his cover jacket intro of Alec MacGillis’ "Fulfillment: Winning and Losing in One-Click America," Craigslist founder Craig Newmark refers to the 1937 Upton Sinclair novel, "The Flivver King: A Story of Ford-America." Newmark contrasts the $30 billion market capitalization of Ford with the $1.5 trillion market capitalization of Amazon. In "The Flivver King," Sinclair blasted Ford for underpaying its workers while forcing them to engage in repetitive and dangerous assembly-line work.

Work Disrupted: Analyzing and Planning the Future of Work

As someone with years of experience working with technology and observing its impact on jobs, I read many new books that shed various perspectives on the changing dynamics of work, now and in the future. Jeff Schwartz, founding partner of Deloitte Consulting’s U.S. Future of Work practice, did not necessarily present anything new to me about the future of work in his book, "Work Disrupted: Opportunity, Resilience, and Growth in the Accelerated Future of Work." However, the organization of the book into three parts with the themes of “Finding Opportunity,” “Building Long-Term Resilience,” and “Playbooks for Growth” make it an excellent resource for many managers, executives, and policymakers as they plan for the future of work.