Preparing Our Students For the Future Workforce

Posted: Updated:

The workforce of 2019 looks vastly different from that of 1999, and by 2039, the change will undoubtedly be even more dramatic. For many students, the PreK-12 classroom experience isn’t keeping pace with shifting workforce needs. Preparing students for success in the future workforce is a community effort, supported not just by parents and educators, but also by local business leaders.

Despite the changing demands of the workforce, U.S. classroom structure and focus have remained largely the same for generations. As a result, we aren’t fully equipping students with the skills they’ll need for the future, and the current talent shortage reflects that. Forty-six percent of U.S. employers reported difficulty filling jobs in 2018 due to a talent shortage, including a lack of both technical and transportable skills, according to a survey by Manpower Group. Our education system must continue to improve while expanding access to highly engaging and relevant learning for all students. This improvement and equity of access is essential to closing the opportunity gap and preparing all students for career success.

How, then, should we change the classroom experience? For years, the American education system has relied largely on traditional, teacher-centric formats. However, studies show hands-on, problem-based, applied learning is more effective for long-term retention and skill development, as well as learner satisfaction. This means we must reevaluate our notion of what effective classrooms look like.

Throughout my career in education and as chief engagement officer of Project Lead The Way, I’ve seen firsthand the effectiveness of student-centered, hands-on, project-based learning. This approach teaches students the real-world knowledge and technical skills needed to succeed and includes important partnerships between schools and their communities. More classrooms would benefit from this relevant connection, but this shift won’t come about without meaningful partnership from business leaders who understand the skills gap and can help educators make the case for greater improvement and collaboration.

This is an exciting time in PreK-12 education, and there are many ways businesses can make meaningful contributions to their local schools. This includes forming relationships with school districts, schools, and individual teachers to understand what would be most beneficial or of interest to them, as well as other forms of involvement and support such as mentoring and presentations on careers and workforce trends.

When businesses and school districts partner to create internships or other work-based learning experiences, it allows students to understand the reality of the workforce and how the skills they’re learning in class can be applied in the real world. In this way, businesses can make meaningful connections with their communities while expanding student understanding of career opportunities.

The business community can also play a critical role in ensuring classroom curriculum and related learning activities match the skillsets students will need for future career success. In some cases, the business community can provide grants or access to state-of-the-art equipment to support relevant and applied student learning. By forming a working relationship with local districts, business leaders can be sure students are prepared for the work taking place in their organizations every day.

As Indiana moves to more fully prepare our students for future success, we must address the changes needed in our classrooms and the opportunity gap so many students and teachers face. Our local businesses can, and must, be a critical part of our students’ career readiness.

David Dimmett is senior vice president and chief engagement officer of the Indianapolis-based education nonprofit Project Lead The Way. Discover how you and your organization can create a future-ready workforce by clicking here.

  • Perspectives

    • Richardson is a practice lead with Centric Consulting.

      How to Create Consistent and Positive Customer Experiences with Your Brand

      Everyone knows that keeping the consumer happy is the first priority. The importance of considering the customer’s experience in all areas of engaging with your business, not just customer service is becoming even more clear. I’m seeing an increasing number of my peers in the marketing world take ownership of the customer experience with their brands. As a result, we’re all learning how to borrow and...

    More

Subscribe

Name:
Company Name:
Email:
Confirm Email:
HTML
INside Edge
Morning Briefing
BigWigs & New Gigs
Life Sciences Indiana
Indiana Connections
INPower
Subscribe
Unsubscribe

Events



  • Most Popular Stories

    • (image courtesy of The Times of Northwest Indiana)

      U.S. Steel Updates Layoff Notice to State

      Pittsburgh-based U.S. Steel Corp. (NYSE: X) has updated the State of Indiana regarding its previously announced layoffs at the East Chicago Tin Mill. The company says 314, rather than 307, workers will be displaced when the mill is idled this fall. 

    • Red Star announced plans to expand and add 18 jobs.

      Larwill Medical Device Maker to Expand, Add Jobs

      A Whitley County-based medical device maker has announced plans to expand its facility in Larwill which should mean new jobs. Red Star Contract Manufacturing Inc. says it will invest $1.6 million in real estate improvements and additional equipment and will create 18 new jobs by 2022. 

    • Regal Beloit is closing in Valparaiso. (photo courtesy; The Times of Northwest Indiana)

      Valpo Bearings Plant to Close, Eliminating 160+ Jobs

      Wisconsin-based Regal Beloit Corp. and the union representing workers have reached an agreement about the closing of a helicopter bearing factory in Valparaiso. According to our partners at The Times of Northwest Indiana, the decision will cost between 160 to 170 workers their jobs. 

    • (WISH-TV Photo)

      Clif Bar Expands Indy Bakery

      California-based Clif Bar & Co. has completed a $10 million expansion of its commercial bakery in Indianapolis. The company says the project involved a more sustainable redesign of the facility for its employee-owners with a greater focus on energy efficiency.

    • AM General & Fiat Chrysler announce plans to build military grade Jeep Gladiator pickup trucks.

      AM General, FCA Collaborate on New Military Grade Jeep

      Nearly 80 years since the first jeep rolled off the assembly line, and helped support American soldiers throughout World War II, it appears the trusted four-wheel-drive machine may be making a comeback in the U.S. military. South Bend-based AM General LLC has teamed up with Fiat Chrysler Automobiles to build military-grade versions of the 2020 Jeep Gladiator pickup truck.