from the world's big
Getting Over College
Gerald Chertavian is the CEO and Founder of Year Up, a non-profit organization that provides intensive professional education to urban young adults. His organization was recently recognized by Fast Company and The Monitor Group as one of the top 25 organizations in the nation using business excellence to engineer social change. Prior to starting Year Up, Chertavian co-founded Conduit Communications and served as the head of marketing at Transnational Financial Services in London. He has been an active member of the Big Brother mentoring program since 1985, and was awarded New York’s outstanding member in 1989. He was also awarded the 2003 Social Entrepreneurship Award by the Manhattan Institute and the 2005 Freedom House Archie R. Williams, Jr. Technology Award. A graduate of Bowdoin College and Harvard Business School, Chertavian was born and raised in Lowell, MA.
Gerald Chertavian: College today is an expensive option without a lot of economies of scale, right, when you go and live at a college. So you have a system that's increasing its cost base by probably five percent a year. So when you go to college, if you go to an Ivy League college, it's going to cost you forty-five thousand a year, plus let's not forget the endowment maybe kicks off another fifteen thousand to twenty thousand dollars. So you're going to spend sixty-five thousand dollars to educate someone, for four years, right, so now we're talking a lot more than that, sixty-five thousand times four. That's not a tenable cost structure. You will not educate millions and millions and millions of Americans -- to the extent we need an educated workforce and a skilled labor force, that system will not have the capacity to educate people to the extent this country needs them. So we can want college graduates, but I can guarantee you we're going to have at least a ten to fifteen-million-person shortage of college graduates in this country over the next ten to fifteen years, whether we like it or not.
So if we're going to remain competitive as a country, if we're going to have a knowledge-based workforce, we have to think about what are the other strategies, pathways, policies that encourage young people to get the skills and the credentials they need to be a good source of supply for our companies in this country, and to be good workers in this country. This -- and companies -- my prediction is companies will lead this revolution. So if we think our educational establishments and our colleges are going to respond quickly enough, your companies ultimately will say, we need to take matters into our own hands. We will do more work training because we can't trust the public education system to do what we need to do. So you will see the rise of large companies saying, we are now getting greater into the business of education because the system is not producing the number of skilled workers we need.
Question: Does this approach contradict the value of a classical liberal arts education?
Gerald Chertavian: When you think about what you said, a classical liberal arts education, what we need today is -- clearly you have to have core content, right? You've got to know how to write, how to read, how to do mathematics. And you need core subject areas, where there's history, geography, science. So that's never going to change, and anything I'm about to say is predicated upon the fact that you must have that to start. But if you look at what is demanded in this economy and our society, there's an increasing premium being placed on critical thinking skills, problem-solving skills, complex communications -- so how I sell something, persuade you, influence you -- so complex communications. And then what's called expert thinking, which is solving a problem for which there isn't a rule-based outcome. So those skills are paid probably twice what they were today than just twenty years ago.
Now, I would argue, if you said classical liberal arts, what you are describing to me is someone who has a pretty broad base of knowledge, clearly has all the core areas covered, they've gone deep one place, but you're really saying, I believe they can think, they can learn, they can solve problems, and they can think critically, and they can communicate with me. That's, I would argue, your concept of a classical liberal arts education. What I'm saying is, if we don't find smarter, faster, better ways to help people learn those skills, don't think a forty-five-thousand dollar-a-year college is going to do it for the rest of America, because it's not. There's got to be a better way to do it, and we need to come to grips with that as quickly as possible, recognize that those skills can be learned in different settings, if we are to remain competitive in this country.
Question: Is the importance of an undergraduate degree declining?
Gerald Chertavian: Well, for many, many years we bifurcated society at a certain age. You go to college, you go to the workforce. And that was really a split in how we conceived of who was educated and even what the role of a four-year college degree meant and was for, for hundreds and hundreds of years. Now if you go to one hundred adults in America today and you say, raise your hand if you have a college degree, about twenty-nine will raise their hand. If you then say, keep your hand up if you got that degree between the ages of eighteen and twenty-two, about eight hands will be up. So when you think of one hundred Americans -- anywhere in the country, choose One hundred Americans – ninety-two either don't have a college degree, or even if they did they didn't get it between the ages of eighteen and twenty-two. So when we think about the role of post-secondary education in America today, we really have to ask our politicians and our policy-makers, are we designing policies in the image of how we perhaps consumed higher education? Right? Which is eighteen to twenty-two, fixed time, you know, school with buildings. That is eight percent of the adults in America today. So maybe if we work real hard, we're going to get from eight to twelve percent, or eight to ten percent, a twenty percent growth in that.
But I reckon there's a lot more gain to be made by saying the other 92 percent of adult Americans need to get post-secondary credentials, need to consume higher education, but doing it in a fixed-term four-year degree is not necessarily the way that Americans will consume higher education in the future. In fact, it was -- I was listening, before he passed away, to Peter Drucker, and he had said, don't take four-year college for granted. And what he was saying back then is what we're seeing play out today, is the fact that an average age of a Bachelor of Arts in America is about twenty-seven and a half years old. So the person getting a B.A. in America today is on average twenty and a half. The average student in a public university works twenty-five hours a week.
So we have to design policies and support systems for Americans who will work while they get educated, who will be older when they get educated, and who will not necessarily do this in one chunk of time between the ages of eighteen and twenty-two. It is imperative -- if we're going to have a society of skilled workers, of knowledge-based workers, which we know we need to have to be competitive globally -- it is imperative that we design our educational systems to reflect the changing needs of Americans in the way they are consuming higher education today
Question: Are corporations ready to stop focusing on graduates of four-year universities?
Gerald Chertavian: The answer is, yes they are, but they need to see proof. So we've had several of our largest corporate partners, who would be in your Fortune 100 of this country, change their hiring practices such that they can hire someone who is getting a college degree but doesn't yet have one into their workforce. So we -- you know, all of our students are dual-enrolled in college. So we're not at all neglecting the fact that you have to earn a post-secondary credential, at least one year of post-secondary at minimum, and hopefully continue on from that.
But we're seeing now large corporations who have seen our young adults in action saying, actually, we want to hire these young adults, and therefore we need to change the policy of the company in order to allow us to do that. So we're seeing that movement. I've also seen companies say, you now, Gerald, we really only hire people with college degrees. And what I often ask is, specifically can you help me to understand what are you looking for when you say that? What skills, competencies, attitudes and behaviors are you looking for when you made that statement? And then I say, if I could prove to you that our students have that, would you not give them a chance? Because then I'm asking, if you said you need X and we provide X, then you're using a proxy for something -- a college degree -- when I can give you demonstrable proof our students have the things. So would you want a proxy that you may or may not know whether they studied or not? You may or may not know the quality of the institution they went to. You may or may not know whether they actually partied twenty-three hours out of twenty-four or actually got an education. Or I can show you demonstrably what they have from skills. Which would you rather have?
Recorded on: October 29, 2009
The price of 4 year universities has been increasing by an average of 5 percent per year, a trend that is both unsustainable and contrary to the needs of a knowledge-based economy. As the founder of Year Up explains, if we’re going to survive the looming education crisis, we’ll need to adopt a radically different vision of higher learning.
Join The Daily Show comedian Jordan Klepper and elite improviser Bob Kulhan live at 1 pm ET on Tuesday, July 14!
Gender and sexual minority populations are experiencing rising anxiety and depression rates during the pandemic.
- Anxiety and depression rates are spiking in the LGBTQ+ community, and especially in individuals who hadn't struggled with those issues in the past.
- Overall, depression increased by an average PHQ-9 score of 1.21 and anxiety increased by an average GAD-7 score of 3.11.
- The researchers recommended that health care providers check in with LGBTQ+ patients about stress and screen for mood and anxiety disorders—even among those with no prior history of anxiety or depression.
Study findings<p>For the study, <a href="https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11606-020-05970-4" target="_blank">published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine</a><em>, </em>Flentje and her team evaluated survey responses from nearly 2,300 individuals who identified as being in the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ+) community. Most of the participants were white, while nearly 19 percent identified as a racial or ethnic minority. Multiple genders were represented with cisgender women (27.2 percent) and men (24.6 percent) making up a majority of the participants. Sixty-three percent had been assigned female at birth. For the most part, participants identified their sexual orientations as queer (40.3 percent), gay (36.5 percent), and bisexual (30.3 percent).</p><p>The JGIM study participants were recruited from the 18,000-participant <a href="https://pridestudy.org/" target="_blank">PRIDE Study</a> (Population Research in Identity and Disparities for Equality), which is the first large-scale, long-term national study focusing on American adults who identify as LGBTQ+. It conducts annual questionnaires to understand factors related to health and disease in this population. </p><p>Participants filled out an annual questionnaire (starting in June 2019) and a COVID-19 impact survey this past spring. Flentje noted that on an individual level, some people may not have experienced a big change in anxiety or depression levels, but for others there was. Overall, depression increased by a <a href="https://patient.info/doctor/patient-health-questionnaire-phq-9" target="_blank">PHQ-9 score</a> of 1.21, putting it at 8.31 on average. Anxiety went up by a <a href="https://www.mdcalc.com/gad-7-general-anxiety-disorder-7" target="_blank">GAD-7</a> score of 3.11 to an average of 8.89. Interestingly, the average PHQ-9 scores for those who screened positive for depression at the first 2019 survey decreased by 1.08. Those who screened negative for depression saw their PHQ-9 scores increase by 2.17 on average. As for anxiety, researchers detected no GAD-7 change among the study participants who screened positive for anxiety in the first survey, but did see an overall increase of 3.93 among those who had initially been evaluated as negative for the disorder. </p>
Risks among gender and sexual minorities<span style="display:block;position:relative;padding-top:56.25%;" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="fc3fd1ae68b77bbbf58a6995638d6d65"><iframe type="lazy-iframe" data-runner-src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/EnUqDjCqg0A?rel=0" width="100%" height="auto" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" style="position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%;"></iframe></span><p>The LGBTQ+ community is a vulnerable population to mental health concerns because of their fear of stigmatization and previous discriminatory experiences.</p> <p>Previous research by the Human Rights Campaign has found "that LGBTQ Americans are more likely than the <a href="https://medicalxpress.com/tags/general+population/" target="_blank">general population</a> to live in poverty and lack access to adequate medical care, paid <a href="https://medicalxpress.com/tags/medical+leave/" target="_blank">medical leave</a>, and basic necessities during the pandemic," said researcher Tari Hanneman, director of the health and aging program at the campaign.</p> <p>"Therefore, it is not surprising to see this increase in anxiety and depression among this population," Hanneman said in the release. "This study highlights the need for <a href="https://medicalxpress.com/tags/health+care+professionals/" target="_blank">health care professionals</a> to support, affirm and provide <a href="https://medicalxpress.com/tags/critical+care/" target="_blank">critical care</a> for the LGBTQ community to manage and maintain their mental health, as well as their physical health, during this pandemic."</p>
What should health care providers do?<p>The authors of the study recommend that health care providers check in with LGBTQ+ patients about stress and screen for mood and anxiety disorders in members of that community—even among those with no prior history of anxiety or depression.</p><p>As cases of COVID-19 continue to mount, the sustained social distancing, potential isolation, economic precariousness, and personal illness, grief, and loss are bound to have increased and varied impacts on mental health. Effective treatments may include individual therapy and medications as well as more large-scale coronavirus support programs like peer-led groups and mindfulness practices. </p><p>"It will be important to find out what happens over time and to identify who is most at risk, so we can be sure to roll out public health interventions to support the mental health of our communities in the best and most effective ways," said Flentje.</p>
What we know about black holes is both fascinating and scary.
- When it comes to black holes, science simultaneously knows so much and so little, which is why they are so fascinating. Focusing on what we do know, this group of astronomers, educators, and physicists share some of the most incredible facts about the powerful and mysterious objects.
- A black hole is so massive that light (and anything else it swallows) can't escape, says Bill Nye. You can't see a black hole, theoretical physicists Michio Kaku and Christophe Galfard explain, because it is too dark. What you can see, however, is the distortion of light around it caused by its extreme gravity.
- Explaining one unsettling concept from astrophysics called spaghettification, astronomer Michelle Thaller says that "If you got close to a black hole there would be tides over your body that small that would rip you apart into basically a strand of spaghetti that would fall down the black hole."
The team caught a glimpse of a process that takes 18,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 years.
- In Italy, a team of scientists is using a highly sophisticated detector to hunt for dark matter.
- The team observed an ultra-rare particle interaction that reveals the half-life of a xenon-124 atom to be 18 sextillion years.
- The half-life of a process is how long it takes for half of the radioactive nuclei present in a sample to decay.
A new study looks at what would happen to human language on a long journey to other star systems.
- A new study proposes that language could change dramatically on long space voyages.
- Spacefaring people might lose the ability to understand the people of Earth.
- This scenario is of particular concern for potential "generation ships".