[Letters] The war for jobs

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[Letters] The war for jobs

The unemployment rate in the United States is over 9 percent, and employment and the job market are the hottest topics in America today. Some say the re-election of President Obama next year depends on how he controls the unemployment rate.

Korea also has a serious unemployment problem. Many college seniors are about to graduate and enter society, but many have yet to find a job. So they will apply for graduate school, go study abroad or enlist in the military, but no one is sure if these will be good alternative paths to the career of their choice.

However, the situation is quite different where I live, in Geneva. Not so long ago, I visited a UBS branch to get a mortgage loan to buy a house.

The mortgage agent was eloquent as he explained the interest rate, the real estate market’s trends and charts of different mortgage loan products. I thought he was a graduate from a top business school, but he said he went to a vocational school.

I was quite surprised to learn that a graduate from a vocational school could work at a world-class bank as an expert in his field. Vocational schools and junior colleges teach skills that are needed in the real world.

Switzerland is well-known for its hotel management schools. In 2007, Taylor Nelson Sofres surveyed hospitality industry workers at 275 hotels in 52 countries, and they named Swiss schools in its top three hotel management institutions. Every year, students from around the world come to Switzerland to study at these hotel management schools.

The world is waging a war of employment, and it is also a battle of education. Public education is also very important, but in our fast changing society, we cannot ignore what industries demand.

Unless educational institutes provide the substantial and useful skills needed in the real world, education cannot nurture a productive workforce. We desperately need education that provides knowledge and techniques that companies need to help the young generation to find jobs.

*Letters and commentaries for publication should be addressed “Letters to the Editor.” E-mailed letters should be sent to eopinion@joongang.co.kr

Kim Ui-gi, a senior counselor to the WTO
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