College. Huh. What Is It Good For?

Absolutely nothing?

When Steve Jobs passed away, it brought to the fore again much discussion about whether college is the right choice for young people. Jobs, after all, dropped out of college after just a semester, then went on to lead one of the most innovative, successful companies in the tech space.

Readers have also been debating recently whether the four years and loads of money required for a college education is really worth it. Some say it's better to head straight for your vocation, and others say it's worth staying in school.

A panel of industry executives met recently to discuss what they consider a serious lack of talent available to fill vacancies within the science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) sector. Mary Isbister, president of metal fabricator GenMet, contends that many of the new workers don't even know how to show up for work on time, let alone have the skills necessary to do their jobs. She and others say that education needs to be more practical.

Take a look at what the executives had to say about solving the STEM talent problem, and let us know your perspective. Do you have a college degree? How helpful was it in preparing you for a technical job in machine building and automation?