To get you caught up on the work of the Career Pathways and Technical Education Advisory Task Force we will write a series of three blogs as mentioned in the last entry. This is the first of the three topics; today we will summarize the presentation by Al Hauge and Alyssa Klein of the Minnesota Department of Education titled, Assisting Students with Career Readiness. This is relevant since many board members across the state have been asking what is the definition of Career Readiness?
The Department presented a definition from the Career Readiness Partner Council: “Possessing the awareness, skills, and dispositions needed to be able to effectively navigate the pathways that connect education and employment to achieve a fulfilling, financially-secure and successful career.”
They outlined the components that will assist with career readiness. They are:
- Workforce Development System: Workforce Development is viewed as the connection and partnership with employers using the system already in place will allow for a regional focus.
- Individualized Plans: 2013 legislation requires school districts to assist all students with exploration of college and career interests and aspirations and develop a plan for transition to post secondary education or employment. Existing tools exist including the EXPLORE and PLAN. We will explore this topic in the next blog.
- School Counselors: The case was made that career counselors at earlier ages help at risk students over come barriers. Legislation from 2013 included school counselors to assist a student with the transition to postsecondary education or training. This will be a challenge in Minnesota since our student to counselor ratio in the elementary schools is 2,141 to 1; middle school 751 to 1; high school 328 to 1 and statewide 795 to 1. The recommended ratio is 250 to 1. Obviously, we have some heavy work funding-wise to make this happen.
- Experiential Learning: Legislation from 2013 requires student learning to provide students with experiential learning in relationship to career and college readiness. This will require successful implementation of bullets one and two. The range of experiences they are referring to are tours, job shadowing, mentoring, entrepreneurship, service learning and internship/apprenticeships.
For more information:
- Minnesota Workforce Council Association Minnesota Organization — http://www.mwca-mn.org
- Positively Minnesota — http://mn.gov/deed/business/help/positively-mn
They concluded with the following recommendations:
- Better alignment with the Minnesota Workforce Development System
- Grade level benchmark system to guide students
- Portable electronic system for every student to store and share career development activities
- Increase number of school counselors
- Decrease work of school counselors that is not aligned to job description
- Continue funding for PLAN and EXPLORE
- Increase experiential learning opportunities for all students.