Rethinking the College Arms Race: What Do Companies REALLY Want? | Town Square | Almanac Online |

Town Square

Post a New Topic

Rethinking the College Arms Race: What Do Companies REALLY Want?

Original post made by Charlene Margot, Menlo-Atherton High School, on Apr 23, 2017

The M-A Parent Education Series presents, "What Do Companies REALLY Want?"

Web Link

We hear a lot about "21st Century skills," but what does that really mean? What kinds of skills or qualities are companies REALLY looking for in their new hires? Does college choice matter? What about summer internships?

Come hear from a panel of Silicon Valley professionals responsible for sourcing talent for their companies. Learn what matters most—and what doesn’t matter—in making decisions about who to hire.

Discussion produced and moderated by Dr. Don Williams, Palo Alto child and adolescent psychologist.

Parents, students, faculty/staff and community members welcome! Simultaneous Spanish interpretation will be available. Free admission.

Comments (8)

9 people like this
Posted by Menlo Voter.
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Apr 23, 2017 at 7:04 pm

Menlo Voter. is a registered user.

How about realizing that not everyone needs to go to college. There are very many people that we NEED to be tradesmen(or tradeswomen). And if things continue the ay they are going tradesmen will be making BIG money because there will be a shortage of QUALIFIED, TRAINED and CAPABLE tradesmen to do your work. You think a plumber is expensive now? Just wait. Illegal immigrants aren't going to fill the bill.

Not everyone is cut out nor interested in college. Why force them into a life choice and/or career they're not interested in just becasue their parents think they should?

I have a college education and it has helped me, but I work day in and day out with tradesmen that don't. They're happy doing what they do and they're making good money doing it. Are they venture capitalists? No. They don't need to be nor do they WANT to be.

Bottom line: give your kids a break. Let THEM decide what they want to do with THEIR lives. Even if you don't agree with it. Its THEIR LIFE. Ultimately, they get to live with what they decide as opposed to what YOU decide.

6 people like this
Posted by Facts
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Apr 25, 2017 at 1:26 am

Agreed that not everyone needs to go to college, but that is also a very simplistic view in a complicated world.

The research is out there that the majority of jobs will require a college degree, if not graduate degree, preferably in a health or STEM related field. Salary statistics and even health and mortality statistics show that the typical person is much better off with advanced education.

Lets also discuss gender while we talk about tradesman. Most are male, and likely will remain so. Women really don't have many opportunities for decent careers UNLESS they go to college. Yes some, but fewer.

Every person needs to find a career that does support themselves and a family. No, that doesn't mean that all families need to be dual-income, just that life happens and if a family puts all their eggs in the basket of a single earner, then what happens when life happens... medical, family or career issues?

Like this comment
Posted by Menlo Voter.
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Apr 25, 2017 at 7:50 am

Menlo Voter. is a registered user.


I realize what the statistics show, but you ignore the very important point that if we don't start helping and directing young people into the trades we are going to be facing a severe shortage of trades people. It's already happening as boomers are retiring and there are fewer people to fill their shoes. And don't discount women going into the trades. I recently read an article indicating that many millennial women are going into the trades. True, it will probably remain a male dominated sector, but not as much as in the past.

Bottom line, not everyone is cut out for nor is interested in going to college and telling them they have to or they are going to have some kind of terrible life is just wrong.

2 people like this
Posted by lib
a resident of Menlo Park: South of Seminary/Vintage Oaks
on Apr 25, 2017 at 9:07 am

MV: Wages for many trades have already been decimated - and this at least partially takes us back to the immigration debate on other threads (one could argue the decline of unions has not helped workers nearly as much.)

With the destruction of Retail (10% job loss recently) and soon Driving (always a source of jobs for the least educated, but soon to be hit by autonomous vehicles) coupled with the ongoing loss of manufacturing (due to technology and outsourcing) there's a whole lotta change coming! Add in some discussion of workers seeking protections (unions) and it gets really interesting. And for younger folk staring down the barrel of all this, my "interesting" should be replaced by "terrifying".

Stepping back and looking at how all this fits together, I find it really challenges my current thinking on each of these issues as a standalone debate.

As a 'moderate conservative' (no offense, that's where I peg you on the scale from some of your posts; take social issues out of the equation) - just how crazy do you see this when viewed in the larger picture?

Like this comment
Posted by Menlo Voter.
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Apr 25, 2017 at 10:02 am

Menlo Voter. is a registered user.


I'm with you. It's looking pretty crazy. The unions have partially caused their own demise and the past depression of wages was due, at least in part, to illegal immigration. There are ways to deal with that and currently wages in the trades are rising due to labor shortages. That means SKILLED labor. Most illegals are unskilled. They're hard workers, but for the most part they are usually working at the end of a shovel.

In regards to college being a must have, I think given current hiring (everywhere but here) that millennials are finding that their college degree isn't doing anything for them. At least that is what I'm reading and hearing from the millennials I know. That's why I don't think college is the only path for young people to follow. In many cases it seems to be a dead end that leaves them saddled with a mountain of student loan debt and no way to pay it off. That's a whole other topic for another time.

Like this comment
Posted by lib
a resident of Menlo Park: South of Seminary/Vintage Oaks
on Apr 25, 2017 at 11:50 am

"That's a whole other topic for another time."


My old saw: "Go to college, learn about yourself, learn something that will make you some money, with luck, combine all that with something you love to do. Above all, a degree will give you options. Even if you end up pumping gas, a degree will still offer value in your life."

Shorter version: college gives you choice, somewhere down the road, you will understand how valuable that is...

That old cliche I gave my kids becomes highly questionable in these times of absurd student debt loads.

Thanks for the response.

Like this comment
Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on May 5, 2017 at 7:27 pm

Web Link

Like this comment
Posted by College is not for everyone
a resident of another community
on May 6, 2017 at 4:45 pm

@facts - I don't agree that everyone has to go to college and preferably grad school too. I do agree that everyone needs some higher education than high school, but that can be a trade school, a certificate program, an apprenticeship. I agree with Menlo Voter - more students should be encouraged to go into trades if they are so inclined - my electrician charges almost $100 an hour. Good wages, less overtime and pressure.

Don't miss out on the discussion!
Sign up to be notified of new comments on this topic.


Post a comment

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

Get fact-based reporting on the COVID-19 crisis sent to your inbox daily.

Palo Alto's Mayfield Bakery & Cafe permanently closes after 11-year run
By Elena Kadvany | 18 comments | 15,030 views

City staff is running Palo Alto
By Diana Diamond | 24 comments | 3,165 views

Couples: Are you Committed to your Vows or Dysfunction?
By Chandrama Anderson | 0 comments | 1,471 views

Kids and sugar: A cautionary tale
By Sherry Listgarten | 9 comments | 1,381 views

Preparing for School
By Cheryl Bac | 0 comments | 527 views