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Flexibility, Transferable Skills are Positive Outcomes

Submitted on September 7, 2018

College graduates with transferable skills such as critical writing and clear speaking as well as numerous others emphasized by Georgetown College are valued by business executives. These results from a new survey of executives and managers have been revealed by the Association of American Colleges and Universities.

Georgetown’s mission is to prepare students to engage in life’s pursuits with thoughtfulness and skill by providing an exceptional educational experience in a vibrant Christian community. Our students enjoy a rigorous academic program but appreciate the additional life-balancing aspects of the Christian emphasis and the comprehensive program of extracurricular and leadership opportunities.

The AAC&U survey results show that while support for higher education may be waning in some public sectors, this skepticism doesn’t appear to extend to potential employers, who say they still have faith in colleges and universities.

AAC&U commissioned the Washington, D.C.-based Hart Research Associates to survey two groups: 500 or so business executives in the private sector, and 500 managers whose duties include recruiting and hiring new employees.

The opinions of the executives and the managers did not differ much – in fact, 63 percent of both groups expressed “a great deal” or “quite a lot” of confidence in colleges and universities compared with the 45 percent of adults who responded similarly in a recent Gallup poll. Both executives and managers believe that graduates are principally prepared for entry-level jobs, indicating they are more likely to hire students who have completed internships like those emphasized by Georgetown’s College to Career Commitment which helps students develop experience on the job.

“Employers are always seeking students who already have a strong foundation of professional skills such as communication, problem solving, leadership, professionalism, a good work ethic, teamwork and collaboration, global and intercultural fluency, and career management. Employers are confident they can teach the job, but they can’t always teach these skills and qualities,” emphasized Holly James, director of the Graves Center for Calling and Career at Georgetown College.

 “Along with our wonderful and well-known majors, Georgetown College has a remarkable and carefully crafted general education program that is really the envy of many other schools,” remarked Jonathan Sands Wise, Ph.D., Vice President for Enrollment Management. “It is this program that ensures that every student graduates with the sorts of skills that don’t just work for one job, but are valuable in every career they might have in life.”

Notable in the AAC&U findings: business leaders appear to value more generalized skills, ones that aren’t specific to certain tasks.

“We know that employers value employees who display flexibility and adaptability,” explained Ms. James. “As organizations today are often redefining themselves in order to keep pace with industry advancements and meet modern needs, the employees who can shift and take on a new role are invaluable. I’ve had many employers tell me that is why they like our Georgetown College graduates.”

A Georgetown College education does prepare lifelong learners and, based on anecdotal evidence noted by Ms. James, some employers do value this ability and desire.

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