Few of us can rely on the past, so we have to invent our own future. #shifthappens #quotesWe have all been profoundly affected by the life and accomplishments of Steve Jobs, co-founder of Apple.

People who didn’t know him wept. Articles compared him to other great visionaries. Endless tributes online and even in front of his store demonstrated how he put a ‘dent’ in the universe. Job’s legacy is not reduced to a few dozen products but how those products, and his vision, changed the world.

He showed us that we could collaborate with talented people to invent our own future.

But where are the jobs which will help nurture the Steve Jobs of the future?

In reading what has been said about Jobs I am struck by our dilemma.  We are not creating jobs that nurture the next Steve Jobs.

In a recent study by researchers at the University of California-Irvine, 1/3 of students surveyed reported that they “expected B’s just for attending lectures, and 40% said they deserved a B for completeing required reading.”

Aaron M. Brower, the vice provost for teaching and learning UW Madison says, “College students talk about wanting to be part of a different and better world, but they don’t won’t spend the time to learn how.

Elayne Clift, in The Chronicle of Higher Education (“From Students, A Misplaced Sense of Entitlement“), writes that: “Every college teacher I know is bemoaning the same kind of thing. Whether it’s rude behavior, lack of intellectual rigor, or both, we are all struggling with the same frightening decline in student performance and academic standards at institutions of higher learning. A sense of entitlement now pervades the academy, excellence be damned.”

As a result the new jobs, or lack of them, prevent finding the Steve Jobs of tomorrow.  Those that have jobs are now ‘overemployed.’ They are expected to multi-task, work harder, but not necessarily work smarter. Commerce forces more from less. And with the new workers so poorly skilled, we are becoming a second rate country with unemployment at an all time high.

Finding jobs does not create the next Jobs. We need to encourage risk taking. We need to reward innovation. We need to stimulate new thinking and make our education–for real world solutions–a priority. We need to create more jobs that produce more Jobs.

As an election year approaches, we should evaluate legislators who are looking for places to cut higher education. We should take a look at the highly paid administrators who allow this system to persist.

We need to apply the Jobs approach and find those who really care about learning. Jobs was involved in every detail of a product. It was not just the product but also the packaging, the marketing, the ease of use, and the integration of technology with practical use. I am worried that we won’t create a new generation who will put a ‘dent’ in the universe. Whether it’s education or commerce we need to think like Jobs so we can create more jobs.

I mourn the loss of Steve Jobs.

I mourn the loss of jobs.

I also mourn the fact that without the right kind of jobs we won’t find the next Jobs.

Without better education, more innovation and more willingness to fail in the pursuit of success the loss of jobs will never be replaced with the next Steve Jobs.