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Game Changers 2019 – Essay Series

Game Changers 2019 – Essay Series

Learn to Earn: Reimagining education for better outcomes.

Dan Rosensweig, CEO, Chegg

My mission this year is to help college students find their pathway to fulfilling work. One of the crises in America today is that young people are not getting jobs at the level they need or are capable of performing. Young people invest in expensive education, and yet don’t see the return. Many don’t get degrees, and those who do often end up in jobs that don’t really require one.

This country is a very different place than it was even ten years ago. People feel threatened by income inequality, globalization, and automation. While the upper class experienced an 18 percent gain in real wages from 2000 to 2017, the middle class gained only 5 percent.

This disparity is also present in educational attainment. In 2015, 74 percent of Americans in the highest income quartile received bachelor’s degrees, as compared with only 26 percent in the lowest income quartile. Meanwhile, Americans are afraid of technological changes, with nearly three in four worried about a future in which robots and computers haven taken over human jobs, and 40 percent believing that free trade agreements have been detrimental to the United States.

Today, good jobs are tied to increasingly expensive degrees. At the moment, 37 percent of college students don’t graduate, and of those
who do, 44 percent end up in jobs that don’t require a degree. If the goal of education is a good, rewarding job, it is failing.

Like any business, education has a lifecycle, and it needs to evolve to keep up with rapidly changing demands.

Eighty-five percent of students say that they’re going to college in order to get a better job, but the careers of tomorrow such as machine learning, data science, and engineering-aren’t what most students are being trained for.

Worse, as well as being expensive, education does not allow for the reality of what modern college students are experiencing-their financial
needs and their employment prospects.

40 percent of college students are older than 25; 42 percent are minorities; 40 percent work more than 30 hours a week; and 26 percent
have children. Students drop out of college because they don’t have the money they need to survive: If class and work are at the same time, they’re forced to choose work and drop out. It’s devastating to consider that one in three college students is food insecure, constantly having to choose between nourishment and books.

Those that are dedicated and lucky enough to graduate are often saddled with debt and faced with a job market in which their
degrees are increasingly irrelevant.

In 2019, Chegg is focused more than ever on helping young people make informed decisions about the cost and return of their education.
We are helping employers see beyond simplistic credentials, and even connecting them directly to talent, ultimately leading young people on
a path to a rewarding career in which they can make positive change in their world.

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