In an opening presentation at work+EDU, a June 20th conference in Boston focused on bridging the gap between education and jobs, WorkingNation president Jane Oates showed how the demands of the workforce are changing at an unprecedented pace and remarked we should all feel “rational panic” about the need for alignment with our education system. One statistic she cited — six out of ten jobs in demand today did not exist 10 years ago.
The presentation echoed the concerns MBAE and our Affiliates have voiced about converging economic and educational trends:
- a rapidly changing economy due to increased automation and globalization
- growing need for a workforce able to fill middle skills jobs
- a gap between the skills employers require and the competencies students possess
In a session led by Executive Director Linda Noonan, Lowell Matthews, Director of College and Career Pathways at the Foundation for Excellence in Education, introduced the audience to strategies adopted in Delaware, Florida, Louisiana, Ohio and Wisconsin to increase opportunities for students to earn industry-recognized credentials in high school. Earning these credentials certifies a student is qualified for a job, allows students to experience the real-world demands of work in a practical way, and helps them acquire real world skills that are essential in 21st century employment.
Florida, Wisconsin and Louisiana provide financial incentives to schools and districts to offer certification coursework that is tied to labor market demand. These incentives have dramatically increased the number of students earning high value credentials in high wage, in-demand fields.
As MBAE’s Director of Career Readiness Initiatives, I’m leading a campaign to adopt a similar model in Massachusetts. Learn more about MBAE’s proposal by visiting our Credentials for Success page.
If you want to learn more about how the world of work has evolved over centuries watch WorkingNation’s excellent video.