The State of College and Career Readiness

Posted by Mandy Groen on Mar 27, 2018 8:59:28 AM



Explore the state of college and career readiness in the following excerpt from our latest white paper, College & Career Readiness: Dispelling the Myths. Then download the full white paper to learn more.


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In today’s rapidly-changing labor landscape, helping students augment their college and career readiness has become a pressing task for educators across the country.


According to separate Georgetown research, rising high school graduation rates haven’t translated to increased economic prosperity for younger generations. For instance, in 1980, the average American was able to earn the national median wage by age 26. As of 2013, it took the average American until age 30 to do the same.


Even more concerning, there was an inverse (though not necessarily causal) relationship between graduation rates and young adult employment during the first decade of the 2000s. While the graduation rates rose from 72 percent to 81 percent from 2000 to 2012 for high school students, the employment rate among young people dropped from 84 percent to 72 percent.


The Great Recession certainly deserves part of the blame, but this concerning statistical relationship also represents the manifestation of two trends. First, more and more careers are requiring at least some sort of postsecondary education or training. By Georgetown’s count, 65 percent of all jobs will require a postsecondary degree by 2020, a significant increase from 59 percent in 2010 and 56 percent in the 1990s. Unfortunately, according to the Center for Civic Innovation at the Manhattan Institute, roughly two-thirds of public high school graduates are not adequately prepared to go to college.


Second, the American educational community — not only high schools but colleges as well — has failed to tie its metrics for success to needed competencies by employers. As Hart Research Associates points out, “Just 23 percent of employers say that recent college graduates are well-prepared when it comes to having the ability to apply knowledge and skills in real-world settings, and 44 percent rate them as not that or not at all prepared.”


A shocking 65 percent of employers agree that colleges and universities must significantly reshape their programs to ensure that college graduates — to say nothing of high school graduates — have the skills and knowledge necessary to advance past an entry-level position at their company.


These figures are but the tip of the iceberg, meaning there is little doubt that today’s students are, by and large, not college- and career-ready. As researchers David Conley and Charis McGaughy put it, “The debate about whether high school is for job training or college prep is over. All adults in the school community, including parents, faculty, and business leaders, [must] understand that the school’s mission is focused on college and career readiness for all.”


This kind of comprehensive, multifaceted approach requires a sophisticated, nuanced understanding of CCR — from kindergarten all the way through college. With that in mind, we’ve set out to debunk some of the most common myths swirling around college and career readiness programs in an attempt to help educators at every level take the first step toward providing students with better, more effective training for their next steps in life.


Continue reading by downloading our full white paper, College and Career Readiness: Dispelling the Myths.


Download the White Paper


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Topics : College & Career Readiness