The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Thursday June 8th

System to get new student jobs plan

The UNC-system Board of Governors will reveal more about its new strategic plan to better prepare students for the global economy at its meeting today.

The plan, announced at the board’s August meeting, aims to inculcate university students with more marketable skills sought by employers. According to a presentation at the last meeting, the unemployment rate for young college graduates is 14.5 percent — compared to 4.2 percent for the whole population of graduates.

The board’s new approach signals a response to UNC Tomorrow, an initiative spearheaded by former UNC-system President Erskine Bowles. Though the program was designed to meet regional needs in the state, it ultimately created a backlog of degree programs awaiting approval from the board.

“I think you’ll see us taking the UNC Tomorrow initiative, updating and advancing it, and saying ‘Here’s what we accomplished, and here’s where we still have inefficiencies,’” said board member Phil Dixon.

Joni Worthington, spokeswoman for the UNC system, said the board will seek to partner with the state’s business and political leaders to implement the initiative.

Worthington said the goal is to have a proposal for the board to vote on in January that would enable the system to include the plan in its state budget request and seek the input of a new governor and state legislature just months after the November election.

Both N.C. gubernatorial candidates have focused on education in statewide campaigns. Republican candidate Pat McCrory unveiled his higher education platform last week.

Ricky Diaz, spokesman for McCrory’s campaign, said McCrory will strengthen the value of a university degree through partnerships that highlight the skills students need.

“We want that certification to be worth more than the paper it’s printed on,” Diaz said. “(McCrory) wants to work with university leaders, businesses and students to make sure this goal is attained.”

Lt. Gov. Walter Dalton, the Democratic candidate and one of the chief sponsors of the state’s early college credit program for high school students, would also seek to collaborate with education and business leaders, said campaign spokesman Schorr Johnson.

The budget and finance committee will also vote on a financial aid proposal. The current policy requires campuses to set aside at least 25 percent of new tuition revenues for need-based financial aid, but Ross proposed switching that minimum to a cap at last month’s meeting.

His new proposal would grant schools the flexibility to determine the amount of revenues that should go toward financial aid and require them to inform parents on tuition bills.

Dixon said the combination of flexibility and transparency should appeal to the board.

“Maybe there’s a happy compromise there.”

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