Magazine article Techniques

An Editorial on the Educonomy: Preparing Students for the Future: The Intersection between Education and the Economy Where Supply, Demand and Career Pathways Are the New Drivers for Education and Training, People and Talent, Occupations and Jobs, and Business and Industry

Magazine article Techniques

An Editorial on the Educonomy: Preparing Students for the Future: The Intersection between Education and the Economy Where Supply, Demand and Career Pathways Are the New Drivers for Education and Training, People and Talent, Occupations and Jobs, and Business and Industry

Article excerpt

HERE ARE SOME STAGGERING STATISTICS: In tile United States. 3.2 million jobs remain unfilled because of a lack of skilled workers. Further, 40 percent of businesses have positions open for six months or longer because they cannot find suitable applicants.

To be competitive in the global market, now and in the years to come, America must have a skilled, well-educated workforce. This should be a common goal for educators, businesses and policymakers across the country. Yet, too often, the educational process does not consider employers needs, and students graduate from high school or even college without' the basic foundational skills needed to succeed in the workplace.

If education is the key to improving students' prospects for the future, it must relate to the real world. To guarantee it does, we have to stop looking at education and the economy as two distinct entities and treating them as such. We need to focus, instead, on the "Educonomy"--the intersection between education and the economy where supply, demand and career pathways are the new drivers for education and training, people and talent, occupations and jobs, and business and industry.

In this new Educonomy, data drives insight and action, enabling educators, government agencies and employers to collaborate and deliberate on informed policy decisions and share information that can be used to motivate and direct students. Through this perspective shift, we no longer just see students; we see students looking for a particular job or specific career, and one that's more likely to be in demand in their area. More important, we give the student the information, education, training and skills necessary to succeed in his or her chosen pathway .

So, where do we start? How about developing programs for middle and high schools that ensure all learners have the necessary skills to be career- and college-ready? I believe the key is to go beyond helping students earn diplomas. Schools must provide students with the 21st-century skills that prepare them for the future, whether it's attending college or a trade school, joining the military or directly entering the workplace.

The Common Core State Standards. (CCSS) are a step in the right direction. The CCSS are designed to be robust and relevant to the real world, reflecting the knowledge and skills that students need for success in college and careers. By focusing on core conceptual understandings and the application of knowledge through high-order skills, the CCSS are helping students develop the ability to solve real-world problems with both predictable and unpredictable solutions. This is a minimum requirement for most American jobs today.

However, to ensure students are truly career-ready, middle and high schools need to go even further. This begins with linking what goes on in the classroom with what is happening in the economy. The benefit of this approach is that when we show students the connection between what's happening in the classroom and in their futures, they more clearly see the relevance of their education--and their interest in their education soars.

School districts, such as Irving Independent School District in Texas and Pomona Unified School District in California, are actively redefining career-and college-readiness efforts with great success using just this kind of Educonomy model. The transformational changes they are enjoying come as a result of injecting best practices throughout their districts lint include educational programs that combine district-developed offerings unique to their communities, support from their local businesses and associations, and highly developed personalized career-readiness systems. …

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