I've been invited to attend in Seattle next week's Microsoft Town Hall Forum on U.S. Workforce Readiness: Building Collaborative and Innovative Partnerships on Workforce Competitiveness, featuring a keynote address by Ed Gordon, author of The 2010 Meltdown. This national forum is a part of Microsoft's Unlimited Potential – Community Technology Skills Program. In addition to discussing partnerships between the public and private sectors, one of the presentations will be:
Education & Workforce: Skill Sets for the 21st Century
Challenges of the 21st Century marketplace. How does America foster a highly skilled workforce in order to remain economically competitive?
I'm looking forward to being a part of this forum because The Career Key has a lot of expertise to offer in the area of career choice. For over twenty years, people have been using The Career Key, first in a paper/pencil form and now online. For ten years free of charge via the internet, we've provided high-quality, scientifically based information about the process of choosing a career.
Dr. Jones and I have been discussing how important career education is to secondary school students; early identification of interests and encouragement of exploration are critical to getting kids to take the classes that prepare them for college. In particular, high level science and math classes are needed to select technical programs and the right college majors.
Our test and website provide affordable, scientifically valid tools to students and educators to help achieve this early identification and exploration. The question is whether career education can compete for time and funding in the curriculum with standardized test preparation, etc.
How do we get the attention of students, parents, educators, and funding sources that high-quality career education is not a luxury, or at worst, a "frill"? Ideas anyone?
And, of course, the shortage of highly skilled workers does not only involve young people, it also involves adults, career changers, and retirees who need or want to continue working. What is the best way to show adults how to make the best career choice as well as all the opportunities and training available for high skilled jobs?
I'll keep you posted on what I learn from this forum.