Preparing Students for the Workplace of Tomorrow


College and career readiness is rapidly becoming a buzzword and hot topic in education. In today’s global world, schools are preparing children for jobs that do not yet exist. While defined curriculum is still of key importance in today’s schools, many educators now feel that there must be an emphasis in that curriculum on preparing students for the careers of the future.

You might be wondering what it means to be career or college ready. According to the Career Readiness Partnership Council, a career-ready individual is someone who has academic and technical knowledge as well as employability knowledge with skills and disposition. According to Achieve, being college ready means that a high school graduate has the knowledge and skills necessary to qualify for and succeed in entry-level, credit-bearing college courses without the need for remedial coursework.

Recent studies have indicated that by 2018, 63% of all jobs in the United States and 90% of new jobs in growing industries will require post-secondary training. Failure to increase the numbers of students prepared for life after secondary education will prove costly, impacting students’ likelihood to obtain and keep their jobs and affecting the global economy. While many jobs today require a college degree, schools must ensure that students who graduate high school and do not attend college are prepared for today’s workforce as well as trade schools in careers that do not require a four-year degree.

Career readiness is not the only thing we must emphasize in schools. With more students graduating high school and attending college than ever, the need for emphasis on college readiness is greater than ever. According to Complete College America, twenty percent of incoming freshmen at four year colleges and 50% of students at two-year colleges will require remedial courses. For every 100 ninth graders in America, 69 graduate from high school, 42 enter college, and 20 earn a bachelor’s degree within six years. These numbers are not only troubling, they highlight the need to prepare students for the future and for the workforce.

We’ve already shown how a number of today’s high school students graduate unprepared for college and the workforce. But what do these statistics mean for the need to improve educational standards in terms of college and career readiness? Surely defining standards in schoolwide curriculum for preparing students for college and careers can help students be college and career ready. The Career Readiness Partner Council has outlined how to build a comprehensive system in schools for career readiness.

With a shift to a global economy and technology becoming more involved in careers across different markets, a different process of career preparation is required for today’s students compared to those of yesterday’s generation. Today’s preparation of students for the future requires great thought in relation the workplace of tomorrow. The next generation of high school graduates must have a different skillset than that of students in the past. Not only must students be prepared for careers that don’t yet exist, they must be flexible and adaptable to changing work environments. The bigger emphasis on career readiness in schools, the more prepared high school graduates will be for the future.

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Posts from the McGraw-Hill Education Social Media & Content team.

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