COLLEGEVILLE/ST. JOSEPH -- In today's job climate the need to have a post-secondary education is growing. The College of St. Benedict and St. John's University is highlighting that need at a conference on campus.

The Liberal Arts Illuminated: Reframing the Narrative: Leadership Toward Inclusive Excellence conference kicked off Monday on both campuses. The event goes through Wednesday.

College of St. Benedict President Mary Dana Hinton says one of the main goals of the event is to prove a liberal arts education is valuable and obtainable for all students.

"What we propose through Liberal Arts Illuminated is that the liberal arts provide exceptional guidance for addressing really complex issues through higher education. Now more than ever, the liberal arts hold great value for all students seeking a post-secondary education."

Recently the focus has been placed on two-year degrees and trade and industry careers. Hinton says a liberal arts education, as well as a vocational education, go hand in hand to better the workforce.

"I think there's room in our society for all manner of education types. I certainly think that the skilled trades have been essential to our economy and engagement in our society. What I like to argue is that the liberal arts provide a type of education that's not just focused on your first job but on a lifetime of professional and personal success."

St. John's University President Michael Hemesath says at St. Ben's and St. John's they really have two goals for students getting a liberal arts education. The first one is to provide skills for the job market.

"We think that the job market is changing and uncertain but we want our students to be prepared literally for a lifetime, for a career, of professional development and we think the liberal arts is the best way to do that. Typically because we don't know what that job market is going to look like."

Hemesath says by completing a liberal arts education students will be able to learn multiple skills that are relevant to several positions. He adds the second goal centered around student growth.

"We can help a student develop holistically as a person as well. We recognize that there are economic goals and personal goals, goals that they have for serving their communities, goals for serving their families and we think a broad-based liberal arts education is a great way to encourage that."

So far, nearly 200 professionals have come out to the conference representing about 50 colleges and universities.

If you would like to see the conference schedule follow the link below.

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