What It Means to be Career-Ready…

“Career-ready” has quickly become a buzz word in more than just education circles.  But what does it exactly mean?  The Career Readiness Partner Council was formed to answer that question.  The text below is taken directly from a pamphlet created by the Career Readiness Partner Council.  The link below will take you directly to the pamphlet. 


 A Call to Action

For too many years, high school graduates throughout the United States faced a fork in the road. One path led to a four-year college, the other to an entry-level job. Some students chose for themselves, while others were tracked based on aptitude and, all too often, on race and income. In today’s 21st century global economy, the choices are much more complex and interconnected, and the fork in the road has been replaced by numerous paths, all of which require a rigorous and rich high school experience that prepares all students—not just some—for college and a career.

 Career Readiness Defined

There is an often-confusing mix of definitions, frameworks, policies and implementation strategies for career readiness. Some viewpoints center around learning skills for a specific entry-level job, while others define career readiness as a broader understanding of workplace skills. Still other definitions focus on knowledge and skills for a particular industry sector such as health sciences or marketing. Career readiness is a convergence of all of these definitions.

 A career-ready person effectively navigates pathways that connect education and employment to achieve a fulfilling, financially-secure and successful career. A career is more than just a job. Career readiness has no defined endpoint. To be career ready in our ever-changing global economy requires adaptability and a commitment to lifelong learning, along with mastery of key academic, technical and workplace knowledge, skills and dispositions that vary from one career to another and change over time as a person progresses along a developmental continuum. Knowledge, skills and dispositions that are inter-dependent and mutually reinforcing.

Academic and Technical Knowledge and Skills

A career-ready person is proficient in the core academic subjects, as well as in technical topics. This foundational knowledge base includes competence in a broad range of academic subjects grounded in rigorous internationally benchmarked state standards—such as the common core state standards for English language arts and mathematics.

It also includes a level of technical-skill proficiency aligned to a chosen career field and pathway, and the ability to apply both academic and technical learning in the context of a career. Many careers also require deeper learning and mastery in specific academic or technical subjects.

Employability Knowledge, Skills and Dispositions

A career-ready person has a good understanding of their interests, talents and weaknesses and a solid grasp of the skills and dispositions necessary for engaging in today’s fast-paced, global economy.

These include, but are not limited to:

  • goal setting and planning;
  • Managing transitions from school to work and back again, and from one occupation along a career pathway to another;
  • clear and effective communication skills;
  • critical thinking and problem solving;
  • Working productively in teams and independently;
  • effective use of technology; and
  • ethical decision-making and social responsibility

Who Comprises The Career Readiness Partner Council?

The Career Readiness Partner Council is a broad-based coalition of education, policy, business and philanthropic organizations that strives to forward a more comprehensive vision for what it means to be career-ready.

Jennifer George, Career Educator

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