Reports Spotlight Need to Better Prepare Students for Careers
Education is an economic issue. Simply put, today’s students are tomorrow’s workforce. Two reports released yesterday offer compelling proof that despite strong academic gains over the past twenty years, too many students graduate unprepared to succeed in the workplace. The reports shine a light on the critical need to better prepare Massachusetts students for careers.
The first, from the New England Public Policy Center at the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston and the Commonwealth Corporation, provides a detailed picture of the Metro South/West region’s current and future labor supply. Although the area has fared well over the past decade, the report raises concerns about the lack of young workers with the skills needed to fill positions that will be vacated by retiring baby boomers. In an article on the study in the Boston Globe, the state’s Labor and Workforce Development Secretary Joanne Goldstein said, “the study has shown that steering young workers into programs that will end in employment – not just four-year degrees – is one of the state’s most important economic hurdles.” Analyses of other regions in the state and a statewide report will be issued over the next six months.
The second report is “From Cradle to Career: Educating our Students for Lifelong Success” from the Massachusetts Board of Elementary and Secondary Education’s Task Force on Integrating College and Career Readiness (of which MBAE Advisory Council Members Gary Gottlieb, CEO of Partners HealthCare, and Wendell Knox, former Abt Associates CEO, were members along with MBAE’s executive director Linda Noonan). The report presents compelling data that reinforces the argument that employers have trouble finding “experienced and skilled workers for specific occupations” and calls for remedies for which MBAE has advocated since the release of our report Educating a 21st Century Workforce: A Call for Action on High School Reform. Among other things, MBAE strongly endorses the Task Force’s call to expand the state’s recommended course of study for high school students, MassCore, to include integrated career development experiences.
MBAE is pleased to see this critical issue receive the attention it deserves from all major stakeholders. Educating ALL students for a 21st century workforce is the key to our economic future.