Employer Involvement with Postsecondary Technical Education Institutions
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AbstractAmong the suggestions that have been put forward to increase the collaboration between the business sector and educational institutions as a means for accomplishing program improvement are supporting the existing system where the schools are generally healthy fostering innovative change, and working for major structural reforms in the system. However, economic principles of market structure need to be applied in judging the efficacy of business-education linkages, particularly at the postsecondary level, and in considering the extent to which these linkages should be encouraged by public policy. A market structure perspective provides a framework that is useful in judging the merits of various types of collaboration as well, since the specific activities that constitute "linkages" span a broad spectrum. Although studies have shown a number of instances of postsecondary collaboration that are leading to substantial benefits, a legitimate question to be asked is whether incentives established through public policy are indeed warranted. If such collaboration is occurring for economic motives, it may not generate program improvement at all. In some cases, appropriate public policy should be to increase competition rather than to encourage collaboration.