Georgia higher ed officials invent a new kind of degree

The University System of Georgia's (USG) board of regents has developed a new credential, called the nexus degree, to boost career outcomes for students, Scott Berson writes for the Ledger-Enquirer.

The nexus degree emphasizes connections between academics, hands-on experience, and industry knowledge to funnel students into high-demand industries like cybersecurity that are facing a shortage of skilled workers, Berson writes.

The degree requires 18 credit hours of coursework, including six hours of internship experience, and is designed to help colleges "address workforce needs in their community," says Steve Wrigley, the USG chancellor.  To develop the curriculum, USG is collaborating with industry experts to align coursework with employer needs, Berson writes. Colleges will "work directly with industry leaders" to align the curriculum to positions they're hoping to fill, Wrigley told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Read more: How the University of Delaware uncovered hidden employer partners on campus

USG is just one of many colleges partnering with industry leaders to better equip graduates with the soft—and hard—skills necessary to succeed in the labor market.

San Jacinto College, for example, meets regularly with local employers, including IBM and Cisco, to review academic program requirements and data on student outcomes.

T-shaped students who can pair soft skills with technical expertise face the most promising opportunities for short- and long-term employment, writes Carla Hickman, a managing director at EAB.

Although the nexus program can be a standalone degree, USG plans to encourage colleges to creatively integrate the program into their current offerings, Berson writes (Berson, Ledger-Enquirer, 2/21).

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