Young girl working on a robot design. Okayama, Japan

Career Readiness Education Helps Launch Students into the Future

The purpose of school had always been to prepare students to be successful adults. That is, until several years ago, when the purpose became to prepare students for standardized tests. This has resulted in a factory-like school setting that is only capable of working with one type of student.
Now, more than ever, the mission needs to evolve. It is not enough for students to be prepared to take standardized tests.
Today’s schools are trying to prepare students for careers we haven’t yet imagined. In fact, according to a 2017 report by Dell, 85 percent of the jobs that will exist in 2030 haven’t even been invented yet.
Career Readiness Education is the ultimate form of STEM education.
Project-based learning, and STEM education can give students the skills to solve real world problems, while also building their critical thinking skills. It is not enough to simply give students a set of skills, as we don’t know what skills may be required. We have to give them skills PLUS the mindset of a problem solver to brainstorm and develop solutions that solve real world problems.
Many schools and companies have raced to teach kids computer programming. Computer programming without context is another skill that can become outdated, as languages change and die. There are many dead coding languages, ALGOL, PASCAL, and APL to name a few. Many others are expected to die soon. If we only focus on teaching coding the same way, we taught Latin (outside of real-world application) then we are wasting students time and creating a false sense of security for parents.
Students need to be taught coding as a part of a program that shows students what this knowledge is preparing them to do. Schools need to give students the skills and confidence that they will be able to solve their own problems in the future.
STEM should be taught as a clear path towards career-readiness. Career readiness brings the lessons into focus and provides the context.
Career-readiness education begins with a clear focus on the outcomes. Career and technology education can give your child what is needed to succeed for life: technical skills, academic skills and employability skills. In addition, career and technical education helps students see how what they’re learning applies to the needs of employers.
Schools are still busy preparing students for careers that existed 20 years ago. The outcomes and methods need to change to ensure that a generation of children is not left behind due to technological advancements.
The real challenge for schools is to prepare student for a future that doesn’t exist yet.

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