[VIDEO] Rep. Langevin, Employers Talk Job Training At New England Tech

All agree one area in need of improvement is getting students to think earlier about what their college tuition dollars will buy them.

Representative James Langevin was in town Monday afternoon, paying a call on to discuss the ways in which businesses and schools are collaborating to get people trained to fill available jobs.

Again and again, it came down to the fact that not enough students are following the career paths that will end in jobs right now.

“There are a lot of companies looking for the same talent,” said Pat Blakemore, NEIT’s director of career services. “There are not enough young people going into these career trends. I don’t think enough is happening at the high school level.”

Donald Nokes, president of Warwick-based IT services company NetCenergy, agreed. “There’s a lot more that can be done on the high school level in my opinion. I’m hoping that this initiative … is going to help bring this awareness down to the high school level.”

Nokes was referring to Obama’s call in his State of the Union speech to provide job training for 2 million people. Nokes and Astro-Med’s John Page were both on hand Monday to reiterate their commitment to working with New England Tech to train workers.

Both employers offer on-the-job training as well as scholarships for workers looking to build on their skills.

But Nokes also talked about one employee who came to NetCenergy with a masters degree in Eastern European religions (see video, attached). He got an entry level job at NetCenergy but had $120,000 in tuition debt and only an entry-level paycheck. Nokes lamented the disconnect between what the man had studied and its cost, and what he could earn.

“And I don’t think he’s the only one like that,” said Nokes.

Jill Stange January 31, 2012 at 02:30 PM
I hope the “higher-education pendulum” does not swing too far. First we teach to the test in primary school, and now we educate to the job in college. Students need to be prepared for today’s workforce demands. However, an institution of higher education is a place where students learn to think outside the box, analyze and solve problems, create something new, write clearly, argue coherently and communicate effectively, all skills that they will need to be successful adults in our communities and workforce. The fellow with the religion degree may not use information about Eastern European religion directly in a technology career, but he probably will not remain in an entry-level job for long. Higher education should provide students with the skills they need to obtain a job, but it is just as important is to prepare them to think critically, communicate effectively, take appropriate risks, and not be afraid of change. First we test the creativity out of our children in primary school, and now, if we aren’t careful, we are going to train them to be skill-specific robots. We need leaders and innovators as well as worker-bees. Be careful not to throw the baby out with the bath water or we could end up stuck in the muck of mediocrity with a workforce that only thinks and works within their own little box. I wonder who will be running the show if that happens.


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