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Employers are training workers in the skills their colleges failed to give them

Spend tens of thousands of dollars on a college education. Go through it all over again when you’re hired, because the employer realizes your degree is a joke.

Companies are taking on the expensive and time-consuming hassle of training workers in skills they should have learned in college – both graduates and dropouts – and sometimes setting up their own specialized schools to get around credential inflation, The Wall Street Journal reports.

Aluminum maker Novelis realized it had a problem when new engineering graduates who start at the company took five years to ramp up, so it took matters into its own hands:

It set up an experimental school that it eventually rolled out across the company, which has more than 11,500 employees in 24 facilities. The school has helped create a workplace where credentials have become less important. The first plant supervisor without a college degree is expected to be promoted shortly.

AT&T is retraining more than 100,000 workers “through a patchwork of classes and programs” at a cost of $1 billion, while Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories – next door to Washington State University – is running its own algebra, physics and writing classes for workers.

Founder Ed Schweitzer, who started the company as a professor of electrical engineering, has long been skeptical of what students are paying to supposedly learn:

Until recently, Dr. Schweitzer was involved in all the hiring decisions, presenting every engineer who wanted a job with a problem to solve. The experience, he said, made him wonder if some universities needed “to have a degree recall program, because sometimes [the schools] are shipping defective products.”

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