Donate to a Student Today

College and Career Readiness through Blended Learning

Tags Posts tagged with "workplace skills"

workplace skills

Skills for the post-pandemic economy. Is college still necessary?

by Eileen Wedegartner, JFYNet Learning Specialist

Is college still necessary?

The COVID-19 pandemic has pushed many people to decide to take a year off from higher education. The ballooning price of college tuition combined with the uncertain job outlook for recent college graduates make this decision understandable. But a longer view of the value of a college degree, beyond the immediate crisis, might lead to a different calculation.

In a recent blog, labor market guru Anthony Carnevale of Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workforce noted, “…this recession has highlighted the stark divide between white-collar and blue-collar work. As many businesses turned to telework to avoid interpersonal contact among workers, it became obvious that white-collar work — and, therefore, jobs that require postsecondary education and training — is generally easier to perform from home than blue-collar work.”

Workers with a college degree have long fared better in the job market, with fewer jobs lost and a quicker transition to recovery. Carnevale pointed to the long-term trend in the labor market as automation takes hold in more places: “As interest in automation technology grows, there likely will be a greater demand for workers who have the education required to invent and use this technology.”

The future of automation is not a matter of whether, but rather of how quickly, it will happen. In every occupation from grocery check-out to surgical assistance, robotics is taking on a broader role. The jobs of the future will require the skills to develop, work with and tune technology as robots perform more and more of the manual jobs that human workers used to do.

In another blog titled “More of Today’s Manufacturing Workers Have Bachelor’s Degrees than Ever Before,” Carnevale said, “The glory days of American manufacturing are gone and unlikely to return, as the industry plays a smaller role in an economy now dominated by services. But despite its decline, manufacturing has become more productive with the help of technology and more highly skilled workers.”

Taking a break from college might seem a reasonable way of reacting to the shock waves of COVID-19. But the long-term outlook for post-secondary education is only getting more compelling. The shutdown has transformed remote working from an exception to a rule, and technology is steadily making it more efficient and more effective. The need to graduate from high school ready for the challenges of college and a career in the tech-saturated workforce has grown more urgent.

At JFYNetWorks, we maintain our focus on helping students develop the skills they will need to ensure readiness for the challenges of transition from high school to post-secondary training and the workforce. These skills include language and math fundamentals, as always. But to be ready for the fluid jobs of the evolving labor market, young people now need new-economy skills like planning, self-advocacy, realigning work, and continuous improvement. This is the emerging post-pandemic profile of “College and Career Readiness.”

It’s not the pre-COVID economy anymore. The virus has changed more than we anticipated. The playing field of work is more virtual and more volatile, and the goal posts are continuously moving.


To learn more about JFYNet’s Connected Learning Solutions click on the button below:JFYNet Connected Learning


HOW ARE WE DOING? In our pursuit to serve up content that matters to you, we ask that you take a couple of minutes to let us know how we’re doing? Please click here to be navigated to our JFYNet Satisfaction Survey. Thank you!

Education and Workforce: What’s New?

Old Year, New Year, New Decade. Same Story.

by Gary Kaplan

For readers of education and workforce journalism, the turn of the decade was neatly bracketed by two articles that summed up the year’s main themes: low student performance and labor shortage. First was a New York Times piece on December 28 headed “Year in Education: Stalled Test Scores…” Under the sub-head “Stagnant Student Performance and Widening Achievement Gaps” it reminded us that the latest National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), our “gold standard” nationwide assessment, had found only one-third of fourth and eighth-graders proficient readers, while student achievement in both reading and math was flat over the past 10 years. That wasn’t all: the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA), an 80-country international test under the auspices of OECD, found that American 15-year-olds have been stagnant in reading and math for two decades. Both tests noted widening achievement gaps between low-performing and high-performing students. The article did not delve into the demographics of the gaps, but we know all too well how that maps.

Thank you for your continued support

Dear Friend of JFYNetWorks,

You may remember a young man named Joey whom we have featured before. Joey was a pleasant, affable high school student with a winning smile and a low opinion of himself. “I want to go to college,” he said, “but I’m not sure I can do it. There’s too much to learn. How am I ever going to make it?” We have recounted how we helped Joey work his way through our College Readiness course by showing him the periodic reports that documented how much he had achieved and how much closer he was to the goal. Our blended learning specialist, Melissa, even counted the number of software modules he had to complete and checked them off as he did them. By the end of the year, he had learned enough to pass the college placement test. In the fall, he was admitted to community college without having to take any remedial courses. We’ll never forget his charmingly modest expression of triumph to Melissa: “I got this, Miss.”

Labor shortage continues. 99% of jobs go to college graduates

Labor Shortage Continues

99% of Jobs Go to College Graduates

by Gary Kaplan, JFYNetWorks Executive Director

“There are no jobs for high school diplomas.”

The May jobs report reiterates a theme we have been hearing with increasing urgency: the shortage of skilled labor. The current 4.3% unemployment rate is a 16-year low. That means there are very few unattached workers available at a time when job openings are near all-time highs. For employers who can’t find qualified workers it means foregoing opportunities for expansion. For the economy at large it means slower growth. But it’s not just a quantitative problem, it’s also qualitative: there aren’t enough workers with the specific skills employers need. The wide range and varied dimensions of the skills shortage are indicated by a survey of Saturday’s newspaper reports.

by Gary Kaplan, JFYNetWorks Executive Director

The need for a higher-skilled workforce is real.

by Gary Kaplan, JFYNetWorks Executive Director

The March state employment report (released in late April) focuses on two concerns: weak job growth and a shortage of skilled workers. Job growth waxes and wanes from month to month, but the skilled worker shortage has been a constant refrain for years. The Federal Reserve regional summary (the Beige Book) for April seconds the call for more workers at every skill level.

Workplace skills then and now: The Lesson of Inland Steel

Workplace Skills Then and Now: The Lesson of Inland Steel

by Gary Kaplan

“Sorry, son, we can’t hire you. You’re overqualified.”

Thus ended my career as a steelworker. The place was Inland Steel in East Chicago, Indiana. The time was the 1970s. I was looking for an interim job while I plotted my next career move. I thought that working in a steel mill would be educational, in addition to bringing in some serious, and seriously needed, cash.

I had grown up in the Calumet Region of Northwest Indiana, one of the world’s largest concentrations of heavy industry. Steel mills and oil refineries were the landscape of my childhood. Many of my high school classmates had gone directly to work at Inland, Youngstown, US Steel or Standard Oil and were well on their way to owning a house, a car, a cabin in Michigan, a boat, and eventually a union pension. Though I had been around the mills my whole life, I had never been inside them. I thought it was time I found out how America’s industrial might was created.