To Go to College or Not?

Dear Tom Tyron, (Letter to the Editor of the Sarasota Herald-Tribune)An editorial posted July 25th questioned the merits of a college education for “ROI” or return on investment value. State College of Florida President Carol Probstfeld rightly responded in a post on July 31st. Both articles have merit, but the real issue is not even addressed.

At the core of the need for higher education is the coming massive workforce job disruption caused by artificial intelligence (AI). Those of us in the entrepreneurship education field have privy to studies by the likes of McKinsey who forecast massive unemployment caused by the automation not only of repetitive manual labor but more significantly by cognitive thinking tasks done by white collar workers. If you think it is down the road, think again. State Farm has eliminated thousands of claims workers and gone to AI to replace their processing, and loan officers are losing jobs to automated applications every week.
Scorecards have nothing to do with a higher education. What counts is being able to make a living to support one’s family, and to do that work must become innovative and creative. We teach both skills in entrepreneurship as well as opportunity recognition, ideation, design thinking, and the lean, evidenced-based method to build a new small business. This newer planning method developed by Silicon Valley to utilize the internet has made learning entrepreneurship possible for all. It can now be taught and learned.
The future of higher education belongs to “hybrid”, half online and half face-to-face classes. The days of tenured $175,000 per year professors are gone. Community college are where education is at these days. NACCE, the National Association of Community College Entrepreneurship, is adding partners, members, and creating new ways to reach those in need. Both SCF and HCC are members, and have just formed an alliance with the largest veterans entrepreneurship organization in the U. S. to expand entrepreneurship education three-fold using community colleges.
Only training for specific skill sets accomplishes employment. But, more important is empowering each student and every adult with entrepreneurship. We live in a Gig Economy where big employers have cut costs employing independent contractors who have to be self-employed to be contracted. They need training for entrepreneurship as a body. Further, as people loose jobs to automation, they need an option to put their passion or interests to small businesses of their own. Take the 3.5 million U. S. truck drivers who are on the verge of loosing their jobs to driverless trucks. If they had training and confidence in self-employed, they could iterate to their favorite hobby, open a small business using their entrepreneurship training, and increase their own salary with no limit on earnings.
Change is inevitable, but to write college is no longer necessary is poor journalism. It is more necessary than ever, but in a different direction and for specific skills in keeping with modern life and a changing economy.
Sincerely,  Clinton E. Day, MBA
Founder of Entrepreneurship at State College of Florida
Biography on Linked In –
Current in Entrepreneurship Website –