Have got an interesting read this morning - America's young workers: Destined for failure?
In regards to the education and "The obvious solution is for university, community college, and industry leaders to get together and design the coursework and the on-the-job experiences young workers need to be productive, learn, grow, and gain access to better and higher paying jobs.", I see a couple of issues here:
1. Current education system is still mentally a centuries old master-apprentice type of concept. At the times when it was relevant and apprenticeship may take years to spend on learning the certain trade the trade wouldn't change much and after somebody finishes the studies the trade would still be the same for the lifetime of the person or even several generations.
This system just simply doesn't cope effectively with our modern challenges of industries appearing and disappearing and older traditional occupations paying less and less to their practitioners. People who used to work with certain product (say in IT) today have to learn much more than just one product or a set of tools or areas of study. Therefore existing education methods, techniques and syllabus structures should be revised.
2. Not only education providers should bother, but also the prospective workforce or students should start learning different aspects of the world around them and do not expect a university to fix it for them. For example, there is heaps of opportunities now to learn extra subjects for free at the convenience of any place in the world where you live. This would add a good deal of potential for your future prospects. Indeed not all employers may accept this fact as a replacement for the proper certificate, however I believe it will change very soon.
3. Education system doesn't guarantee a good paying job placement anymore - regardless of the study area or industry. That's not only because of the education itself, but because of the whole economy system does work differently to what education system can offer.
4. Employers have got a high-level outdated expectations on candidates who live and would like to live better today. This again is not only a problem of just certain employer - the problem is in the fact that what people want today: from economy, from the business (as a driving force of all improvements) and from themselves doesn't match with the reality. The employer expects a huge list of skills, experiences and certifications for a job that a) is underpaid; b) doesn't really require that much. Here's an example: The recovery puzzle: Matching jobs to job-seekers. I don't think this is only relevant to USA - it's the common issue in many countries.
Those are main factors, in my opinion.