Nebraska Summit on Career Readiness

a project of the Nebraska Department of Education in partnership with the Department of Labor, Future Force Nebraska, and Partnerships for Innovation


Michael Kaufman
Good morning. Do you have any thoughts or reflections about the work we did yesterday? Any nightmares or dreams last night?

One of the critical questions is "where do we go from here?" Career readiness cannot be an "endpoint" - there must be an expectation for further learning and development.

College is not a destination - it is a step towards a career. All education is about preparing people for a career, no matter what path they choose towards a career. This is a distinction that is not widely understood, and especially among educators. The federal Secretary of Education has stated that the distinction between "college ready" and "career ready" is a false dichotomy.

Years ago, InnovationLabs did some work with an Air Force base. The commander of the base made a very bold statement about change. "To the Air Force, we're going to look like Air Force. But on base, we are going to have to behave completely differently." The same approach may be similar here. No matter what the national policy is, we may need to create buffers to insulate what we're doing on the inside from outside pressures.

It may be that "career readiness" may already be a toxic term. One of the teams yesterday explored the term "Life Ready". Once we have defined our terms here, we have only loaded the gun. Once we leave here, the battle to make change happen will begin.

This is kind of like the Civil War in a way. Each district needs to accomodate a wide range of pressures and demands, and they are competing with each other for resources as well. We need to turn this mentality on its head - what can we do to address more of our demands with fewer resources?

Problem-based learning is growing into what is being called Challenge-Based Learning. In this model, young people take on a challenge in the community. When one of these projects was completed, they measured the students against the curriculum standards and discovered that they had far surpassed the standards. If we can approach the problems differently, we can develop some very innovative solutions.

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Yesterday, eight teams identified big shifts necessary for Career and Life Readiness from different perspectives. We are going to ask you to vote for the most important or impactful shift for each perspective. Which shift, if implemented, would create the biggest impact in the next year or so?

See the complete results of the voting [280kb PowerPoint File]

Here are the top vote-getters:

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