Ryan Craig, a managing director at University Ventures who is working to create new pathways from education to employment, is skeptical of this notion about the current value of college. He argues there is a concerning and widening divergence between being career-ready and college-educated.

“Colleges continue to act as though they’re preparing students for their fifth job, not their first job,” he says. “Unfortunately, we now know that if students don’t get good first jobs, they’re probably not going to get good fifth jobs.” Furthermore, pointing to low college completion rates nationally, Craig is “…hugely concerned that nostalgic adherence to the college model has yielded crises of affordability, completion and employability.”

For all the training around critical thinking that colleges continue to provide, Craig argues there has been a major shift in the kind of skills employers are looking for — toward more practical, technical, software-oriented and digital competencies. College must therefore be reimagined and consumed differently.

Civil Discourse Prompts
Can the K-12 education system effectively and simultaneously prepare students for college and the workforce without tracking students by either college or career?
Are students graduating from high school with the skills they need to succeed in the workforce?
Are college students career-ready when they graduate?

Despite their different perspectives, Coleman and Craig ultimately identify a similar concern about education in America today for students who pursue college or a career: a lack of student readiness for what comes next. In life, students will one day have to balance the pursuit of their dreams, the desire to deploy their talents and the need to make a living. If their readiness for such a moment is lacking, have they received the freedom and opportunity promised by their education?

David Coleman CEO
The college board

Previously named to Time’s 100 Most Influential list, David Coleman took the helm of the College Board in 2012. Under David’s leadership, the College Board successfully redesigned the SAT, which is now being taken by more students than at any other time in history and is the most widely used college entrance exam. And Advanced Placement participation and performance for students of all backgrounds continue to go up in tandem.

“Fifteen years ago, only one in 10 AP students came from low-income households. Today, it’s one in five…”
David Coleman, CEO, The College Board


“I believe the value of education is the freedom to make your own life decisions and the capacity to see them through.”

– David Coleman, president and CEO, The College Board

Man in a black suit and tie smiling
Ryan Craig Managing Director
University Ventures

Ryan Craig is the author of College Disrupted (2015) and A New U: Faster + Cheaper Alternatives to College (2018). He is a managing director at University Ventures, which is reimagining the future of higher education and creating new pathways from education to employment.

“Across virtually every industry, technical skills now outnumber all others in job descriptions…”
Ryan Craig, Managing Director, University Ventures


“I believe the value of education is to provide pathways to economic opportunity. Education is at the heart of the American dream.”

– Ryan Craig, managing director, University Ventures

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