Darrel Anthony Luzzo’s Futurist Essay introduces the main themes of NACE’s Looking Glass. He sketches out a short look at the four key ideas that comprise the future of recruiting:
1. the need for a collaborative spirit between colleges and employers
2. the need for career exploration, via internships and other institutions
3. the need for technology to ease the transition between school and work
4. the need for strong networks between students, colleges, and employers
Foretelling the future is a trend that the public has given up on, because we would be all too afraid to venture into it, but Dr. Luzzo served us well to outline what the future will be about, no matter what its shape or form.
Colleges will need to remain resilient to the changing demands of employers, while grounding students in rubrics and skills that virtually do not change. Employers will need to partner with schools to guarantee a healthy supply of skilled individuals. These two operations are inextricable from each other, and Luzzo’s collaborative spirit overarchs any attempt to unify schools and industry. How this unity takes place takes a lot of leverage by industry, to partner and influence academia; academia resembles the government, in its need to satisfy many, many interests with its massive resources.
The shape that industry influence takes, right now is very visible through grant giving to graduate schools. This we know well. Higher-level, esoteric skills are best cultivated in this way. However, the topic that heats up the discussion is how industry can reach into the undergraduate process, and into graduate programs without grant funding. How industry influences the vast majority of undergraduates and first year grad students remains the meatiest problem. And where industry fails to garner the interest, and stimulate the curiosity of this mass group, therein lies its inability to cultivate a high level workforce with any efficiency.
Luzzo’s insists that information technology will play a role in this landscape. I believe that when these essays were compiled in 2006, that the impact of social networks was very nascent. Only did people sense that somehow, ‘technology’ would insert itself into the problem. I think that lay people outside of technology in professional areas like management and economics, have a remarkable set of instincts in this regard. They know that big job engines like monster and dice are effective in assisting some units of the workforce to find meaningful work. But how industry will get involved with the students, and help them to find the right place for their personal interests, is an area yet unresolved. And it will be necessary to get the tools into their hands, perhaps on student’s terms, that will help bring the Luzzo circle of collaboration to fruition.