College, Career, and Civic Readiness (3/5): A Thinking Pro Blog Series
In the previous installment of our blog series on college, career, and civic readiness, we explored the concept of college readiness and how college students and parents have a high price to pay for unpreparedness. Today, we move beyond college to the next of the three “Cs”: career readiness.
If college readiness refers to the ability of a student to jump right into college-level classes without need for remediation or other “catch-up” services, then career readiness refers to a new hire having the same degree of preparation. This career readiness is increasingly important as more and more “employers comment on the inadequate preparation of high school graduates” (US Department of Education, 2010). Regardless of whether you are transitioning from high school, vocational school, or a four-year degree program, when you arrive at the workplace on your first day, you need to be ready to perform the job you’ve been hired for.
As pointed out by the College and Career Readiness and Success Center (CCRSC) in their “College and Career Readiness and Success Organizer”, it’s possible to break career readiness down into three general areas: academic content, pathway knowledge, and lifelong learning skills. These broad requirements can be applied to each of the three “Cs”; adequate preparation in each category is necessary for success in college, career, and civic life (CCRSC, 2014).
For career readiness, specifically, academic content will vary based on the career path in question. New hires must have a solid foundation of field-specific technical knowledge and familiarity with industry standards. “Pathway knowledge” is a bit more personal than academic content. It refers to a new hire’s individual interests, goals, strengths, and weaknesses, and the best way to leverage those as they forge their career path. Finally, lifelong learning skills are those abilities that are universal, transferable, and necessary for all aspects of life. These include emotional and social awareness, financial competency, technology skills, and interpersonal aptitude to support teamwork. (CCRSC, 2014).
Another key lifelong learning skill needed by anybody entering the workforce is the ability to think critically. As we saw with college readiness, there are some common factors that can help everybody become prepared to take on the responsibilities that come with a career, no matter their field. The National High School Center at the American Institutes for Research states: “Regardless of their chosen career… young people must have the capacity to address complex problems in order to maximize their potential for professional and personal success” (NHSC, 2012).
Many organizations have attempted to put a price tag on the financial costs of hiring a new employee: these range from 50% to a whopping 213% of that employee’s annual salary. Even if the exact dollar amount is hard to pin down, it’s clear that the costs of playing “catch up” are not insignificant. Given this, we’ll pose the same question we posed in the last portion of our series: how much are you willing to invest now to make sure that you’re not costing your future partners big money down the road?
- Amelga, Makeda (October 2012). College and Career Readiness: A Quick Stats Fact Sheet. Retrieved from http://www.ccrscenter.org/products-resources/college-and-career-readiness-quick-stats-fact-sheet.
- College & Career Readiness & Success Center (May 2014). The College and Career Readiness and Success Organizer. Retrieved from http://www.ccrscenter.org/sites/default/files/College%20and%20Career%20Readiness%20and%20Success%20Organizer%20Brief_FINAL.pdf.
- Merhar, Christina (February 2016). Employee Retention - The Real Cost of Losing an Employee. Retrieved from https://www.zanebenefits.com/blog/bid/312123/employee-retention-the-real-cost-of-losing-an-employee.
- US Department of Education (May 2010). College- and Career-Ready Standards and Assessments. Retrieved from https://www2.ed.gov/policy/elsec/leg/blueprint/faq/college-career.pdf.