Goshen News, Goshen, IN

February 9, 2007

'Change or die' in the new economy

<b>In our opinion</b>


It is not business as usual for young people today. In a rapidly-changing world, those entering the work force must learn to adapt.

Goshen College President James Brenneman, who spoke Thursday at the Goshen Chamber of Commerce’s Wake Up Goshen event, said the college is helping to create global citizens.

Additionally, the process of higher education now recognizes that a “creative, entrepreneurial spirit” is a necessity in a knowledge-based economy, Brenneman said.

For instance, he pointed out the college has the task of preparing students for “21st century jobs that have not even been imagined.”

It is true that technology has transformed the business world. In the last several decades, computers and the Internet have made many positions obsolete while also creating new and different jobs.

A liberal arts education offers training for students to learn to accommodate and even embrace change. Brenneman said students prepared for a global economy must learn to “fluidly move in and out of cultures” and “take on new skills.”

The new economy exemplifies the evolutionary dictum, “change or die.” Workers can no longer retain the methods of their predecessors. “We’ve always done it that way” just doesn’t cut it anymore.

Innovation and creativity are essential to compete, and higher education must recognize this need.

Brenneman said Goshen College is ahead of the curve with its longtime international education requirement. But he also suggested “the world has moved to our doorstep,” and feels the intercultural character of Goshen is apparent.

Education is increasingly essential for those who encounter the harsh realities of the workplace. But education is also evolving to meet the changing employment needs.