“Being educated isn’t enough. Students need to also be prepared.” This past summer I attended a professional development conference where the keynote speaker, Chad Foster, spoke these words. We need to make sure that our students are graduating with not only the knowledge they’ll need to live a productive and successful life, but also the skills. Without the increasingly important workplace readiness skills, our students are not prepared and ready to be successful.
The below article (taken from Career Convergence Web Magazine) speaks to why now is a critical time to make sure our students are not only educated, but also prepared for their future.
Written By: Phil Jarvis
“Four labor force megatrends are converging to create a “perfect storm” in the labor markets in which students must establish their careers. Almost 50 percent of youth are now victims of the perfect storm, exiting education into unemployment or under-employment, often mired in debt, unclear about their employment and career prospects. They begin their careers in minimum wage jobs unrelated to their studies, with little prospect of paying off student loans soon, let alone buying a car and home and beginning a satisfying, fulfilling adult life.
School counselors need to be aware of the perfect storm and provide leadership in their schools to ensure students receive the career development they need to transition from school to success, despite the perfect storm.
The Four Megatrends Causing the Perfect Storm
1. The Great Recession - The global economy and communities across the country are weathering the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression. All levels of government are in record debt, endeavoring to balance program and service cuts with economic stimulus. Recovery is slow and faltering, and companies are reluctant to invest in new people.
2. Shifting Demographics - The oldest baby boomer turned 65 in 2012. Many have retired and an annual tsunami of boomers will retire over the next 20 years. This mass exodus from the work world of the most knowledgeable and experienced employees will create new challenges for employers seeking to fill talent voids.
3. Upskilling of Jobs - New technology has rendered many jobs obsolete, enabled robots to replace humans in other jobs, and raised skill requirements in all sectors, while producing new jobs every month. More education and skills are now demanded of workers in all jobs, especially in new and emerging sectors requiring science, technology, engineering or mathematics (STEM) skills. Despite high unemployment and underemployment, employers in most sectors report challenges finding the talent they need to fill “mission-critical” positions.
The economic consequences of unemployment and underemployment are staggering. Lost productivity and reduced competitiveness cost employers dearly. Lost tax revenues, social assistance, corrections, stress-induced health costs alone run into billions of dollars annually. The human consequences are higher. The most effective way for governments to reduce deficits and debt, and for companies to increase productivity and grow, is to get the right people in the right jobs, fully engaged in creating economic prosperity for their companies, communities, and families. Students must be prepared to exit school into appropriate employment.
4. Unprepared Graduates - Today’s students need higher skill levels than any cohort before them. Yet, key 21st century skills employers now insist upon are not in the curriculum in most secondary and post-secondary programs. All job sectors experiencing growth require at least some level of post-secondary certification, yet of 100 students in the 9th grade today, fewer than 25 will graduate on schedule with a post-secondary degree, diploma or certificate.
The portends are clear. Many students risk becoming casualties of the perfect storm. Skilled counselors and exemplary career development programs and services are needed to support students in all grades. Available resources tend to be underutilized because career development is not a priority.”
Submitted By Jennifer George, Career Resource Educator