Career Readiness is a Concern for Parents and Employers

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By; Matt Parke

A nationwide listening tour by the Committee for Economic Development revealed that parents and employers have the same concerns about how children are being prepared for the future of work.

The United States labor market is running at full steam, so much so that a record 6.6 million job openings have matched the number of unemployed Americans seeking work. This disconnect can be attributed to a lack of communication about skills development and career pathways, according to a recently-released report from the Committee for Economic Development of The Conference Board (CED).

Compiling the opinions and recommendations from CED’s nationwide “listening tour” stopping at five U.S. cities, Building Supports for Successful Transitions in the Workforce: Community Conversations with Business Leaders and Parents finds common ground in what parents and employers want for the prospects of children. They had a near-universal sentiment that the education system was not preparing students to have the technical and soft skills to compete in the labor market.

“In examining the ideas shared by participants, the underlying theme is unmistakable: There is a significant gap between what parents and employers want, and what high schools are delivering,” the report said.

The CED issued surveys to parents and business leaders asking their input on the challenges in preparing students for the future of work. These questions included the following:

  • What are your goals and expectations for your child/children after they finish their education and/or training?
  • What are your goals and expectations for employees once they are hired by your company?
  • What is needed to help ensure that high school graduates are on a path toward a successful job/career?
  • What is the role of business? What is the role of parents?
  • What is the role of schools? What is the role of other intermediaries?

Whether it was a demographically-diverse large city (Oakland, California) or small and industry-dependent (Marysville, Ohio) parents reported to the CED that they wanted their children to have sustainable careers to make them financially-independent and productive members of their communities.

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