The auditorium filled to the sound of teachers small talking. Several chairs populated by a rather diverse looking group of Lancaster County employers sat facing the teachers. The moderator stepped in to quiet the throng and start the conversation.
“Here they are sitting right in front of you,” she began. “What would you like to tell them about the preparation of your future employees?”
I have to admit that I shifted uncomfortably in my seat. The panel of career field experts sitting in opposition of our entire high school teaching staff consisted of local entrepreneurs and business owners. The purpose of this in-service was to explore the perceived disconnect from the school’s view of life after graduation and those who actually live in that world.
Educational institutions mean well; they really do, but it is filled with individuals whose view of life after high school begins to slip further and further into the past as they rack up years of experience.
The first speaker was complimentary and explained that his small technology start-up employed several Penn Manor students, and he was rather pleased. He was interrupted before he finished and a rather gruff gentleman voiced his disagreement.
He went on to explain that if we really wanted to know what was needed in an future employee…it was initiative. He explained that recently he had tried to explain a process for studding a wall that his company uses on projects. The young man listened intently and then began work. During the instruction, the speaker had to leave the young man to work because he was called away to attend to another task. Upon return, he found the young man sitting and waiting for the next set of instructions. The frustration in our speaker’s voice was evident as he recalled this experience. The employee did not have the initiative to finish the wall. The panel voiced their support for this skill and the conversation was underway.
The fascinating part of this innovative professional development was the speed with which the perceived confrontational tone shifted to one of mutual collaboration and respect. It is the job of education to prepare students for life outside the schoolhouse walls. When considering mission statements for schools, one must consider not just college but CAREER readiness skills.
Although many people agree with this concept, the difficulty is attempting to develop a learning plan that teaches initiative. How does one develop an assessment or rubric for initiative?
The 1Skill podcast project has attempted to recreate what happened in that auditorium. The voices from the field were instrumental in starting the conversation between faculty and administration about infusing career-ready skills into already existing curriculum offerings.
In order to start the conversation with your administration, staff, students, and parents, plan on listening to the free podcast offerings in one of the four career pathways. They are designed to be springboards for conversation for participants. They are around 3 minutes in length so that the entire activity can be implemented within 15 minutes. We at the Career Readiness Institute hope to help districts save time and money in the transition to focusing equally on college and career ready skills.
Yours in Eduction,
Dr. Gregg McGough, Blogger & Podcaster