The U.S. could be left in the dust if it doesn’t respond and adapt

businesses-universitiesPartnerships between universities and corporations are nothing new: IBM has been teaming up with universities since the the early days of computer science education in the 1940’s.

As the debate over the “skills gap” accelerates, however, collaborations between universities and businesses are becoming more sophisticated and intertwined, evolving to meet shifting economic, marketplace and educational needs.

For example, now IBM University Programs (IBM UP) partners with 28 business schools and universities to craft curricula in the emerging field of big data analysis.

As James Spohrer, director of IBM UP says, the lag time between new initiatives is getting more compressed, and “every decade is punctuated by some major initiative and more recently, it’s been every couple of years that we’ve had a new one.”

And corporations may sense a greater urgency to align with universities to have access to the skilled workforce they need in the future. A recent Northeastern University poll found that 73 percent of business leaders contend there is a substantial skills gap in the current U.S. workforce. Even more damning, 87 percent of those leaders say most college graduates lack the most important skills required to succeed into today’s workplace.

Naturally, it is never easy to align the interests of universities and local industry, but the next generation of the partnerships reveal several interesting trends in how to navigate the fraught territory between promoting academic freedom and training a highly-skilled workforce.

(Next page: Trends 1-3)

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