The national Coalition for Career Development (CCD) released a major new white paper today – Career Readiness for All — that calls for sweeping changes designed to make career readiness the first priority of American education. Its mission is to ensure that ALL students secure productive employment in their chosen career pathway as efficiently and as cost-effectively as possible.
Dr. Scott Solberg, a professor in BU Wheelock’s counseling psychology program, contributed significantly to the report’s development and publication. He is a member of CCD’s Advisory Board, along with more than three dozen peers drawn from the nation’s most prominent business, education and government groups, including the National Governors Association, the US Chamber of Commerce Foundation, the Council of Chief School Officers, the National Urban League and UnidosUS. Dr. Solberg also serves on the CCD’s Operations Committee, playing a major role in planning the paper’s release.
The recommendations for this report were drawn from ideas generated in first National Career Development Summit that CCD convened in Washington last fall, which included 200 prominent leaders from business, education and government. At that Summit, Dr. Solberg moderated a discussion panel that focused on prioritizing career planning in K-12 education, and led an afternoon breakout session focused on career planning at the post-secondary level.
Career Readiness for All finds that while the United States has spent hundreds of billions of dollars on efforts to improve education, we are still failing to prepare millions of young adults for productive careers. Our current education system is inefficient, ineffective and inequitable, and the symptoms of its distress are worsening. Despite the “college for all” model, only a third of American youth complete a bachelor’s degree–and two-thirds of those that do graduate believe that college has not prepared them for careers. Student debt has soared to over $1.5 trillion, almost triple the level in 2007. This has contributed to growing skills gaps that over 90% of CEOs see as a serious problem, while persistent inequities have depressed economic mobility.
Career Readiness for All advances a framework of practical, common-sense solutions to this crisis designed to provide high-quality career development to all students in middle school through college, and to adults seeking more promising career options. The framework includes five pillars:
- Requiring all students to develop a Personal Career and Academic Plan (i.e., individualized learning plan), beginning at the end of middle school with continuous updates through high school and college
- Increasing access to professional career advising for all students, including adding certified career development advisors in every high school and college
- Massively increasing applied and work-based learning, including internships and apprenticeships leading to industry-recognized certifications
- Equipping all students with high-quality career development technology
- Encouraging states to insure their accountability systems emphasize career readiness, as well such outcome metrics as job placement and college graduation rates.
The solutions framework amounts to a roadmap for transforming the culture of American education. While this would require increased investments, the report argues the return on these investments would eventually total hundreds of billions of dollars. Expected benefits would include sharp drops in the college dropout rate and in the growth of student debt; closing the skills gap by better equipping students to meet industry needs; and a stronger, more efficient economy. “Ultimately, these reforms have the potential to revitalize a society now torn by deep divisions, reduced economic mobility, and a deep fear by many that the American Dream is dead,” the report concludes. “This would help revive the hope, energy and optimism that have always been America’s greatest strengths.”
PRESS EVENT: The White Paper will be released at an event in the Capitol Visitors Center, Room 202-3, from 8 to 10 a.m. on April 3, 2019. The event will include remarks from members of Congress from both parties, as well from the Coalition’s Advisory Board. A list of Advisory Board members, as well as an embargoed copy of the report, is attached. The report is embargoed until April 3.
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BU Wheelock College of Education & Human Development