Friday, January 29, 2016

30 Careers for 2030: Where Do We Go From Here?

Are you preparing students for the jobs of 2030? If you read my blog you know I blog about innovation in education, the future of learning and community partnerships quite a bit. At my school, Holy Family Academy, students work in externships starting freshman year, I've been spending a lot of time exploring how schools prepare students for college and careers. While I believe having a school that focuses on active learning, building motivation/character strengths and using educational technology sets up students for success, I feel strongly career exploration and building pathways and experiential leanring opportunities is a missing piece in many high schools. Career exploration can't happen soon enough and needs to be infused at the middle school level. At our school, students explore careers right off the bat! Can you imagine working at K&L Gates law firm as a 14 year old, working for the Pittsburgh Steelers or in the Accounting Department at Eaton Corporation? This type of experiential learning, where students bridge the education to employment gap, is something we are making a priority at our school. These experiences are also coupled with mentoring, every student has both a career coach and a learning hub coach. These advisors help them build a personalized pathway to explore college and careers. 

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Why the focus on careers AND college - we want to set students up for success and help them "get there" more smoothly, quicker and tie learning in the classroom to the real-world. Looking at industry gaps in our region, HFA is also part of workforce development, bridging the Education to Employment Gap that School That Can describes so well. We realize that the traditional way to get to college might not be for every student. Why not consider a gap year, an alternative path like taking a job and the employer helping pay for college or doing college part-time? Also, what about being an entrepreneur? How might we best prepare kids for jobs of the future that don't even exist yet?

I recently read a report and found this interesting graphic that explores 30 careers for 2030. One of the easiest ways to begin thinking about future careers is to focus on what may be a problem in the future and invent a job that will solve it. According to Sodexo Insights, "Many functions will be more automated in the future, including professional services, but people will still find creative ways of using their skills and talents to make a living."  Here are three basic approaches: 1. Retrofitting: Adding new skills to existing jobs. 2. Blending: Combining skills and functions from different jobs or industries to create new specialties. 3. Problem solving: Necessity is still the mother of invention, and the supply of future problems for people to solve seems limitless.

How can we best prepare youth for these new types of careers? Exposure, exploration, experiences and empowerment. Let's equip students with the right skills to succeed and learn about possibilities. To make that happen - we must fundamentally re-imagine schools an learning. Schedules, time-tables and experiences would look much different. As roles like "Director of Innovation" are beginning to pop-up at many schools to support innovation in teaching and learning, I am hopeful "career coaches" are the new guidance counselors. The pathway may or may not be the traditional 4-year college-route. Career coaches need to know about the hiring and employment trends/gaps in your city and nationally when advising youth. 

Some interesting ideas to ponder... 

  1. What about developing mico-credentials through employers students can earn while they are in high school? 
  2. Expanding school models like P-TECH or ours at HFA?
  3. How do flexible start and end times in high school and shifts in the school-year calendar change things?
  4. How do we get parents and college counselors on the same page?
I've been thinking about these questions a lot as I have the honor of being part of a group of educational leaders in Pittsburgh submitting an XQ America Super School application. As we refine our submission I can't wait to share what this power-house group is coming up with. We are lucky to have the support of the Heinz Endowments and their insight as we explore these questions. 

Read more on this topic here:
101 Endangered Jobs for 2030
Bill Gates on how the World Will Change by 2030


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