how-many-studentsI just read the newest data from the National Center for Educational Statistics and the stats are alarming.

Among 25-34 year olds with a bachelor’s degree or higher, 95.1% are currently employed.  Compare that to only 57.7% of 2012 high school graduates (who did not attend college) who are currently employed.

The most recent data is from 2012. BCC. Before Common Core. What’s the message? Our students need preparation for college or a specific career to be employable.

After reading the statistics, I did a little research on the employment gap and discovered an awesome video produced by McKinsey &Company. The video, which does not endorse, or even mention, the CCSS, suggests how to close the gap by sharing insights from their research on 8000 stakeholders.

The video begins with two shocking statements.

  • Over 75 million young people in the world can’t find a job.
  • Employers can’t find enough qualified candidates to fill their positions.

Clearly, something needs to change.

The video suggests that the knowledge and skills we teach our students must be the same knowledge and skills that jobs require. There are two examples of institutions who do this well on the McKinley video– one is Miami Dade college, who work to align their programs with job requirements. How can our public schools implement a similar model? Right now, the Common Core is the one thing on the table that was designed for that purpose.

In the CCSS Initiative Standards-Setting Criteria document, it provides some insight into the criteria that impacted the planning stages of the Core. The document notes that the standards will be developed to “align with college and work expectations, so that all students are prepared for success upon graduating from high school.” Success is further defined as the ability to excel in college coursework or become employed in a career. Not just a job, but a career that offers competitive, livable salaries above the poverty line, opportunities for career advancement, and is in a growing or sustainable industry.

Fast forward to 2014. We are currently trying to implement these standards so in the future, 75 million young people are not unemployable.

Without rigorous standards and universally-designed instruction so students can access those standards, the employment gap will perpetuate. As the McKinsey video ends, they sum up why we need to prepare students for their future:  “Too many youth get lost along the way. They deserve a better chance of success.”

Education and the Employment Gap
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