Interesting Wall Street Journal article entitled “Forget B-school, D-school is hot”. D for arts and design schools. Demand for these schools is growing as is private sector companies interest in hiring graduates. The article mentions Electronic Arts, JetBlue Airways, SAP, Intuit, P&G , Google, Nike and Fidelity Investments.
This is consistent with the ideas in Daniel Pink’s must read book A Whole New Mind. The best book I have read on the future of jobs. Pink argues persuasively that our economy is increasing going to demand right brain, rather than left brain, jobs. Left brain jobs being the easiest to automate and outsource.
So how does this square with the critical skills area list Lansing policy makers have included in the higher education funding bill? Not at all! No arts and design occupations on their critical skills list. With the exception of architecture (interestingly the professional occupation with the highest current unemployment rate) every occupation on the list is left brain dominant.
Which, of course, raises the question “Who would you rather have deciding which occupations to prepare for in the future: State government or higher education institutions responding to constantly shifting demand of students and private sector employers?” How it is that Lansing policy makers think they should get out of the business of picking industries but get in the business of picking occupations is hard to imagine. The odds are they are going to be as inept at the latter as they have been the former.
The folly of government picking occupations is brilliantly described by Virginia Postrel in a Bloomberg article entitled: “How Art History Majors Power the U.S. Economy”. Highly recommended! She writes:
One of Michigan’s greatest assets is its system of autonomous universities. That autonomy – provided for in the state constitution – helped build one of America’s great higher education systems in the 20th Century and gives us the best chance to have the agile higher education institutions required in the 21st Century to meet the needs of workers and employers in an economy constantly being altered by globalization and technology.