“Competencies from professional certifications can also be important, whether they are drawn from the Institute of Supply Management or Microsoft. Competencies can be acknowledged through credentials other than a degree, such as badges students can earn.
Degree programs can be validated by employers and outside sources of workplace data, such as Burning Glass, to ensure the skills really match employer needs and wants.
Brahm also stressed a need to make sure students are picking up the competencies.
“Because we will embed these competencies across the curriculum, we need to have institutionally developed standardized testing to measure how well you’re doing,” he said.
Much of that is a way for colleges to learn from employers and about the job market. It may be necessary work and work that some institutions are already doing — and it may be largely new for some institutions.
Many of the college presidents in attendance Monday were happy to hear an employer, BlackRock, valuing what they already do.
“In a world where in fact the most important expertise is learning, how much do we have to learn from you all?” McBride said. “Everything.”