The job market is so fragile. Here are two different approaches now being taken by universities to help out in this difficult era.
#1 – Law schools are literally, in some cases, paying law firms the salaries needed to hire their graduates. Here’s an excerpt from a New York Times article, In Law Schools, Grades Go Up, Just Like That:
Others, like Duke and the University of Texas at Austin, offer stipends for students to take unpaid public interest internships. Southern Methodist University’s Dedman School of Law even recently began paying profit-making law firms to hire its students.
(Law Schools are also retroactively raising a graduate’s grade point average. I won’t even comment on that practice! Details in the New York Times article)
#2 – MIT is now, in essence, funding startups from within the university. Here’s an excerpt of another New York Times article, The Idea Incubator Goes to Campus:
By providing academics like Professor Hart a bridge to the business world, M.I.T. is in the vanguard of a movement involving a handful of universities nationwide that work closely with investors to ensure that promising ideas are nurtured and turned into successful start-ups.
At first glance, the centers look like academic versions of business incubators. But universities are getting involved now at a much earlier stage than incubators typically do. Rather than offering seed money to businesses that already have a product and a staff, as incubators usually do, the universities are harvesting great ideas and then trying to find investors and businesspeople interested in developing them further and exploring their commercial viability.
In the jargon of academia, the locations of such matchmaking are known as “proof-of-concept centers,” and they’re among a number of new approaches to commercializing university research in more efficient and purposeful ways — and to preventing good ideas from dying quietly.
The “lesson” – colleges and universities need to demonstrate that their graduates are able to enter the workforce. Though there have long been “placement” offices, this is an era requiring far more inventive and aggressive approaches. This jobless era requires, and is generating, lots of new approaches.