If you were to ask your students how prepared they are for what comes next after graduation (as far as work and continuing education goes), what would they say? Would they say they’re ready for any challenge that comes their way? Will they be able to accurately self-assess and identify their key strengths as well as those weaknesses they still need to shore up? Or, despite your best efforts, will they have an inflated, unrealistic view of themselves and their abilities?
If you fear the latter, you’re likely not alone. And, apparently, that doesn’t change for those students who go on to some form of higher education. The Association of American Colleges and Universities (AACU) asked employers and students alike some targeted questions regarding their perception towards their level of preparedness. The results might cause a startling reality check for those students who dare to take a close look. To find out more, check out the following article from Inside Higher Ed: Well-Prepared in Their Own Eyes.
“When it comes to the types of skills and knowledge that employers feel are most important to workplace success, large majorities of employers do NOT feel that recent college graduates are well prepared.”
– AACU Report quoted in Inside Higher Ed article Well-Prepared in Their Own Eyes
So, what can be done about this? Do we continue to assume colleges and universities will teach the skills employers say are lacking? Or do we, as K-12 educators find ways to implement those difficult to quantify – yet imperative to possess – skills employers demand, providing our students a “leg up” on those who do not possess the same skills? And, how do we actually do that?
One way is to expose students to jobs/careers, by taking them out on industry tours or having them do internships and job shadowing of their own. Having them watch what skills (including soft skills) jobs require will go a long way to helping them understand the need to learn them now.
Another way is to weave soft skill development directly into instruction – regardless of the subject matter you’re teaching. The Career Readiness department is currently creating lessons centered around soft skill development, and you can adapt any and all lessons to fit what works best for your classroom.
Finally, you can join the Career Readiness Network, to hear about all the opportunities for students and PD for yourself. Meet with like-minded teachers and counselors who want to blend curriculum with career-preparation. Share ideas and best practices. And hear directly from industry professionals themselves the skills they require of their employees.
To find ways you can incorporate more career readiness into your curriculum, reach out to us by commenting on this article, or emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org.