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In the Nation's Interest

CED Policy Luncheon: Rebooting for the New Talent Economy

On January 20, 2012, CED hosted a policy discussion with Kaplan CEO Andrew Rosen. Mr. Rosen is the author of, a book that takes a hard look at the current state of American postsecondary education and how we can improve higher education and better prepare students for the workplace. At CED, Mr. Rosen outlined the problems faced by non-traditional postsecondary education students. In addition to the costs of continuing their education, older postsecondary students are often pulled away from their studies by jobs and family.

Mr. Rosen also discussed his new "learning playbook" for universities and colleges and how business leaders can support necessary innovations that will enable American higher education to regain its global primacy and be a catalyst for economic growth in the 21st century.

Between 1973 and 2008, the percentage of American jobs requiring postsecondary education more than doubled, from 28 percent to 59 percent. But, our nation has lagged in producing educated workers to fill these jobs. In the 1970s, the United States was a world leader in the percentage of 25- to 34-year olds with postsecondary credentials; in 2009, the U.S. dropped to 16thplace.

To address this critical competitiveness issue, President Obama laid out a bold goal: by 2020, America will once again have the highest proportion of college graduates in the world. Given the current economic conditions, this goal cannot be met by increased government funding alone. Instead, the time has come for a fundamental re-ordering of American higher education.

In " Rebooting for the new talent economy," Mr. Rosen details how far the American higher education system has strayed from the goals of learning outcomes, access, affordability, and accountability that should characterize our system, and offers a prescription to restore American educational pre-eminence.