Magazine article Techniques

Painting a Positive Picture

Magazine article Techniques

Painting a Positive Picture

Article excerpt

Painting a positive picture of career education is everybody's business--from educators to other professionals to members of the business community. Even though career education is a priority in many school districts, still far too many people believe that the measure of a good public education is in its ability to prepare students for success at institutions of higher education. For these, the yardstick for educational excellence is the number of graduating seniors who enter colleges and universities. This is so even though labor market predictions suggest that roughly only 20 percent of the jobs that will be available in the future will require a four-year college education, that nearly 50 percent of those who enter college never graduate, and that most of those who do earn their four-year degrees never find employment in the area in which they majored. Still, college completion is often viewed as the only road to success.

For this reason, educators have a selling job to do. Like the artist, we must paint a positive picture of career education so that it is viewed as a kaleidoscope of opportunities for pursuing career choices.

It should be painted as a bountiful garden of career paths from which one can pick and choose. However, just as a garden needs to be fertilized to obtain maximum growth, career education requires stimulation in order to flourish. In schools through out the country, we must plant the seeds for career education early and continue to encourage their growth throughout each passing year. How? We can do it by stimulating an interest in, and an understanding of, career options and the requirements, training and education necessary to achieve success in any specific one of them.

Educators must lead the school-to-career movement by infusing career education into the curriculum of every public school in America. Motivation to learn is high when classes and activities relate to the real world, to real career choices and to real job opportunities.

Toward that end, we must rally the entire community, but in particular the business and industry community, to collaborate and to develop creative ways to guarantee the success of such infusion, as well as to ensure a highly trained workforce. There are many opportunities to discover and share innovative resources, concepts and best practices-for example, through workshops, seminars and strong business partnerships. …

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