The COVID-19 pandemic has spotlighted emerging challenges to the service model of American colleges and universities, while also presenting a strong opportunity for them to serve adult learners.
According to “New Horizons: American Universities and the Case for Lifelong Learning,” a new report from the Longevity Project, rising costs and a decline in the traditional student population has put many colleges at risk. At the same time, the pandemic has revealed a greater demand and need for reskilling among adult learners–a need that universities can, and should, help to fill.
“American universities and colleges have a unique set of teaching resources and connections to the job market. Those resources can be extended to help serve millions of adult learners who are in need of new skills for the rapidly changing workplace,” said Ken Stern, Chair of the Longevity Project.
Changes in technology and the economic cycle have repeatedly shifted the job market and increased the need for workforce development and training programs. As a result, nearly a million new training and certificate programs have sprung up around the country, according to research from Credential Engine.