How Do Disruptive Innovators Prepare Today's Students to Be Tomorrow's Workforce?: Minerva's Co-op Model: A Pathway to Closing the Skills Gap
Bridging the skills gap is necessary to increase productivity and equity. In Latin America and the Caribbean, this challenge has manifested in high rates of youth unemployment, informality, and inactivity. Traditional higher education has struggled to respond to this challenge, with rising costs limiting access and poor outcomes forcing students to question the value of a university degree. In this paper, we explore a model for collaboration between higher education providers and employers designed to overcome these challenges. In this co-op model, students earn a bachelors degree in three years, while also working part-time during the second and third years. This model provides students with the foundational skills and knowledge needed to become broad, interdisciplinary thinkers, while also giving them valuable work experience for which they earn credit while pursuing their degree. Economic constraints are addressed by students degrees being partly subsidized by an employer, who benefits by easily hiring employees who can fill their most critical human resource needs.