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

Additional Resources

The following materials were provided as additional resources for participants of the November 3–4, 2009 Summit on Career Readiness. These optional reading materials may be helpful in providing additional background information on the subjects discussed at the Summit. They may also provide some stimulating and thought provoking concepts. Currently there are materials related to:

If you have any questions about the material provided here please contact Michael Kaufman from InnovationLabs by email or phone 510-903-0652.

Career Readiness

Are They Really Ready To Work?
Employers’ Perspectives on the Basic Knowledge and Applied Skills of New Entrants to the 21st Century U.S. Workforce
In fact, the findings indicate that applied skills on all educational levels trump basic knowledge and skills, such as Reading Comprehension and Mathematics. In other words, while the “three Rs” are still fundamental to any new workforce entrant’s ability to do the job, employers emphasize that applied skills like Teamwork/Collaboration and Critical Thinking are “very important” to success at work.

An Education Report Card: Is the System Preparing Tomorrow’s Workforce?
US Chamber Magazine, Margaret Spellings
Margaret Spellings says that “Every business in America knows that without a skilled workforce, its business cannot grow and prosper,” however she does not directly address what types of programs or policies may help address the need for a “skilled workforce.”

The Case for Working with your Hands
New York Times, Matthew Crawford
Crawford discusses the value of trade work, juxtaposing it against office work and the disconnect and loss of a sense of accomplishment it often causes. He tells his story to show how an intelligent professional found meaningful work in the trades. His case for working with your hands is essentially, “A good job requires a field of action where you can put your best capacities to work and see an effect in the world. Academic credentials do not guarantee this. Nor can big business or big government — those idols of the right and the left — reliably secure such work for us.”

Pity those who have to implement accountability systems for 21st century skills
Terry Ryan for Flypaper, Education reform ideas that stick, from the Fordham Institute
Despite receiving criticism from leading lights in American education (like Diane Ravitch), 21st century skills – a fad with lineage that can be traced back to at least the early part of the 20th century – have taken hold not only in education circles but in state law. How can the state be expected to hold schools and districts accountable for delivering a skill like enthusiasm?

The Perkins Act of 2006: Connecting Career and Technical Education with the College and Career Readiness Agenda
Policy brief, By Hans Meeder for Achieve, Inc.
The American Diploma Project (ADP) is working with states to set the college and career readiness agenda.  Perkins and ADP share a common goal: ensuring that all American youths graduate from high school with the skills and knowledge they need to be ready for college and careers.  This policy brief outlines specific strategies that state ADP leadership teams could use to implement the both the ADP agenda and the Perkins Act.

What Is College- and Career- Ready?
American Diploma Project Network, Achieve, Inc.
This one pager offers definitions of “college ready” and “career ready”, and concludes that being ready for college requires the same knowledge and skills to be ready for a career. 

What does it mean for a student to be career ready?
21st century skills partnership paper
Employers report on the top 5 most important skills in the workplace: professionalism, teamwork, oral communication, ethics and social responsibility, and reading comprehension. This paper focuses as well on what emerging skills will be needed in the future and what role business has in creating a workforce that is ready to compete.

Moving English Language Learners to College and Career Readiness
American Youth Policy Forum, Issue Brief
This issue brief explores effective educational models for serving English Language Learners (ELLs)i in ways that build upon these students’ assets and prepare them for college and careers. The brief derives from an AYPF field trip to Texas’s Rio Grande Valley region. On May 6-8, 2009 AYPF led a group of national policy leaders on a fact-finding tour of the area to learn about programs and models that have increased ELL student performance, high school graduation rates, and college attendance. The following discussion provides background information on the importance of improving the educational outcomes of ELL students, a description of the limitations of current federal legislation addressing ELLs, an overview of the models being implemented in the Rio Grande Valley region, and recommendations for future federal legislation.

Draft Content Standards Elicit Mixed Reviews
Education Week article by Sean Cavanagh and Catherine Gewertz
This article was published after an unfinished draft of the Common Core Standards was leaked this summer before its official release in September.  The article gauges the reactions of various stakeholders to the standards.  Of particular interest is the questions raised about how appropriate the standards are for students pursuing different paths after high school: 4-year college, 2-year college, or work. 

Building a wider skills net for workers
Issues in Science and Technology, Summer 2008, The Path Not Studied • ROBERT I. LERMAN
A range of skills beyond conventional schooling are critical to success in the job market, and new educational approaches should reflect these noncognitive skills and occupational qualifications.

Scientist Shortage? – Maybe Not.
By Greg Toppo and Dan Vergano, USA TODAY 7/29/09
The predictions are dire, the language grim: Looming shortfalls. Gathering storm. Disturbing mosaic. No, it's not the economy, global warming or the sitcom industry. It's the coming shortage of U.S. scientists and engineers, foretold for decades by corporate, government and education advocates.

The Neglected Majority – Revisited
Journal of Career and Technical Education, 21(2), Fall, 2005 • James R. Stone III, Corinne Alfeld
The American high school, the object of much discussion and debate since the publication of A Nation at Risk (Gardner, 1983), is in a curious position today. Despite more than 20 years of reforms and increased graduation requirements, most notably in math and science, we arrive at the threshold of the 21st century with increasing drop out rates and stagnant achievement measures.

Research on Future Skill Demands: A Workshop Summary
Margaret Hilton, Rapporteur, National Research Council, (2008)
Over the past five years, business and education groups have issued a series of reports indicating that the skill demands of work are rising, due to rapid technological change and increasing global competition. The reports call for rapid improvements in K-12 and higher education to prepare young people with the higher skills said to be required for the coming century (Business–Higher Education Forum, 2003; Partnership for 21st Century Skills, 2005). The National Academies report Rising Aboe the Gathering Storm (National Research Council, 2007a) argued that, to meet growing global competition for high-skill, high-wage jobs, the government should increase funding of research and development and strengthen the science and mathematics education of the nation’s future workforce. The America Competes Act (Public Law 110-69), signed into law in August 2007, is designed to carry out the recommendations of that report.

College Readiness

Should Everyone Go to College?
Jennifer Epstein for Inside Higher Ed
In a panel discussion yesterday at the Urban Institute here, four policy experts -- Jean Johnson, executive vice president of Public Agenda; Charles Kolb, president of the Committee for Economic Development; Robert Lerman, Urban Institute fellow in labor and social policy and economics professor at American University; and Paul Lingenfelter, president of State Higher Education Executive Officers (SHEEO) -- all had pretty much the same answer: yes, if college is redefined to mean postsecondary education and training in academics, a trade, or a set of skills that would make someone employable.

The Lay of the Land: What Is Post Secondary Career and Technical Education
Jim Jacobs, Macomb Community College
Jacobs describes clear and necessary distinctions between secondary and postsecondary CTE. Unlike “vocational education” from the past that prepared students for entry level work with no degree requirement, today’s postsecondary CTE requires a new focus: entry into a career pathway with an appropriate credential (degree, apprenticeship, license, other form of recognized credential) that will obtain work.

North Carolina Says Early College High School Initiative Has Curbed Dropout Rates
Diverse: Issues in Higher Education
North Carolina is home to 42 Learn and Earn Early College High Schools, 38 of them are located on community college campuses. North Carolina education officials say early college high schools are at the heart of the state’s effort to keep dropout rates low.

Trends in Global Higher Education: Tracking an Academic Revolution
A Report Prepared for the UNESCO 2009 World Conference on Higher Education
The academic changes of the late 20th and early 21st centuries are more extensive due to their global nature and the number of institutions and people they affect. This report is especially devoted to examining the changes that have taken place since the 1998 UNESCO World Conference on Higher Education. While many trends included in this report were discussed in 1998, they have intensified in the past decade. Here we examine the main engines of change and their impact on higher education.

21st Century Trends for Higher Education Top Trends, 2008-2009
In 2007, the Cisco Internet Business Solutions Group released the first in a series of Points of View regarding key trends for higher education in the 21st century, along with the role of technology in each. The first paper1 described IBSG’s position on 11 trends affecting higher education in 2007–2008, including incoming students, faculty support, job alliances, and data management. This paper addresses 12 key trends—some new, some ongoing—for 2008 and 2009

Applied baccalaureates
The Adult Learner and the Applied Baccalaureate:  Emerging lessons for State and Local Implementation.  
In the nation’s changing economy, there is an increasing necessity for baccalau­reate level education for a number of jobs that have never before required that level of education. One potential solution to issues related to baccalaureate attainment and workforce development is the applied baccalaureate degree.  The Adult Learner and the Applied Baccalaureate project is de­signed to provide federal, state, and local educational leaders and policy makers with information about the applied baccalaureate degree in the United States. This policy brief draws upon results of a 50-state study to inventory applied baccalaureate degree pro­grams (Townsend, Bragg, & Ruud, 2008). Using data obtained from telephone interviews with state officials, and from Web sites, reports, legislation, and other materials provided by the states, we describe the status of applied baccalaureate programs offered by public associate degree-granting and traditional baccalaureate degree-granting colleges and universities.

Dual Enrollment
What is Dual Enrollment? Its benefits, relationship to CTE and sample dual enrollment programs.

Anticipating the Demand for Colorado Community College Services in 2020
Executive Summary, Mid-continent Research for Education and Learning
This executive summary briefly summarizes the scenario planning process that took place between April and October 2007 in Denver, Colorado, describes the outcomes of the process, and offers a set of recommendations for the consideration of CCCS leaders.
[Full report]

Community College Research Center      
Dual enrollment, in which high school students take college courses, is an increasingly popular educational program. As states and local education authorities (LEAs) devote resources to this initiative, it is important to evaluate the effectiveness of these investments. Doing so presents unique challenges, however, because the data and analytic requirements of evaluating dual enrollment require coordination among individual high schools, LEAs, postsecondary institutions, and states. These challenges can be overcome, and the effort it takes to do so is well worth the financial and human investment. This summary is intended to help decision-makers understand why research is important and how policymakers can support research activities.

How many college graduates does the US Labor Force Really Need?
Paul E. Barton • From Change Magazine January/February 2008
Conventional wisdom has it that the demand for workers with college degrees is growing rapidly in the United States and will escalate. But the issue of what job qualifications will be important in the future and for whom is complex, with several threads of argument intertwined. First comes the very important question of how an individual can best prepare educationally to do well in the future labor market. Coupled with that question is the need for citizens to have an equal opportunity to attend and complete college, such access being key to the nation's major problem of income inequality among racial and ethnic groups. Second is the question of how many college graduates the nation needs to produce, and with what skills, to ensure our national prosperity in an age of rapid technological change, globalization, and strong international competition.

The College Ladder: Linking Secondary and Postsecondary Education for Success for All Students.
Brown Lerner, Jennifer, and Brand, Betsy.  American Youth Policy Forum (September 2006)

This report is the result of a two-year effort to identify, summarize, and analyze schools, programs, and policies that link secondary and postsecondary education to help students earn college credit or take college-level courses. Programs examined include: dual enrollment, tech prep, middle/early college high schools, programs serving disadvantaged youth, and college access programs.

High School Reform

Critical thinking? You need knowledge
The latest fad to sweep K-12 education is called “21st-Century Skills.’’ States - including Massachusetts - are adding them to their learning standards, with the expectation that students will master skills such as cooperative learning and critical thinking and therefore be better able to compete for jobs in the global economy. Inevitably, putting a priority on skills pushes other subjects, including history, literature, and the arts, to the margins. But skill-centered, knowledge-free education has never worked.

Infusing CTE into High School Reform
American Youth Policy Forum highlights best practices of Tech Prep programs in California. The Tech Prep programs combine instruction for the last two years of secondary education with at least two years of postsecondary education, with the aim of graduating students with an associate degree or two-year certificate. The new focus on career pathways also helps students prepare for and transition to postsecondary education. Programs such as these thus place students on the path to postsecondary success. However, attention still needs to be paid to ensuring students are ready to engage in a postsecondary curriculum, without requiring remediation, and that supports are in place to ensure postsecondary persistence and completion.

A Perkins Challenge: Assessing Technical Skills in CTE
James R. Stone III, dir. of the National Research Center for CTE at the University of Louisville, KY
This article outlines the challenges related to technical skills assessments.  It also explores the different models of technical skills assessments: industry-driven models, state models, CTSO models. 

Researching CTE Student Success: A New Conceptual Framework
Techniques article by Pradeep Kotamraju, system director for Perkins federal grants with the Office of the Chancellor at MN State Colleges and Universities in St. Paul, MN
This article explores the establishment of evidence-based accountability systems for measuring CTE student success. Student success in CTE is comprised of three elements: engagement, achievement and transition.  The end of the article describes what student success looks like.

Beyond Empty Promises: Policies to Improve Transition into College and Jobs.
James E. Rosenbaum Northwestern University April 2002
Innovation occurs in the U.S. at an amazing speed, but people and institutions often have difficulty keeping up. In the past two decades, jobs and colleges have dramatically changed their requirements, but these changes are often poorly understood, and the resulting misconceptions have led to misguided educational practices. Reviewing research evidence, we conclude that well- intentioned educators have encouraged misguided "college for all" policies which prevent students from 1)getting crucial information about how they are doing, 2)seeing the full range of their desirable options, 3)assessing the appropriateness of these options and their likely outcomes, and 4)seeing what actions they can take to improve their career outcomes.

High School Reform and Work: Facing Labor Market Realities
Paul E. Barton Educational Testing Service 2006
The focus of the current high school reform movement goes beyond qualifying students to enter college. It extends to raising the rigor of coursework so that students are prepared for college-level classes, rather than forced to enter remedial courses. That this is needed is based on extensive study of the gap between college admissions criteria and the more rigorous requirements for entering credit courses, as determined by college placement tests.

School of Dreams:  More Education Is Not an Economic Elixir.
No compelling evidence exists for the thesis that giving people more formal academic education will result in a restructuring of jobs and increased productivity and growth in the economy at large.

Joining Forces for Student Success: The Emergence of State and Local Policies to Support the Recognition of Academic Credit for CTE Coursework.
Association for Career Technical Education.(February 2009).
National and State support can Accelerate the development of awarding academic credit for CTE courses and help student meet new rigorous academic requirements in a way that is relevant to their individual interests and learning styles.

General Articles and Videos

Catching up or Leading the Way: American Education in the Age of Globalization
Yong Zhao, Ph.D University Distinguished Professor; Director, US-­‐China Center for Research on Educational Excellence College of Education; Executive Director, Confucius Institute Michigan State University 
Two Million Minutes, vividly reveals that American students are no longer “at risk” of falling behind -- they are now clearly behind even Third World students in India and China, in addition to being in 24th place among developed countries.

The Global Achievement Gap: Why Even Our Best Schools Don't Teach The New Survival Skills Our Children Need--and What We Can Do About It
Despite the best efforts of educators, our nation's schools are dangerously obsolete. Instead of teaching students to be critical thinkers and problem-solvers, we are asking them to memorize facts for multiple choice tests. This problem isn't limited to low-income school districts: even our top schools aren't teaching or testing the skills that matter most in the global knowledge economy. Our teens leave school equipped to work only in the kinds of jobs that are fast disappearing from the American economy. Meanwhile, young adults in India and China are competing with our students for the most sought-after careers around the world.

Top five predictions for 2009
Anthony Salcito, VP of Worlwide Education, Microsoft Corp. shares his top five predictions of trends in education for 2009:

  1. Modernization & “Greening” of our schools
  2. The promise of hosted computing
  3. Access to personal computing devices
  4. Emergence and connection of “workforce readiness” to student assessment.
  5. Digital Curriculum a reality


2020 Forecast: Creating the Future of Learning
A collaboration betweent KnowledgeWorks Foundation and the Institute for the Future (IFTF)
Over the next decade, the most vibrant innovations in education will take place outside traditional institutions. This 2020 Forecast: Creating the Future of Learning presents a critical dilemma facing these institutions: how to reconcile bottom-up developments in education with the traditional top-down hierarchy that is currently in place. Such peripheral innovation will redefine how learning is organized, who comprises the broad “school community,” and what the actual experiences of learners will be like in the future. The validity and role of formal institutions of education will be challenged by key forces of change and will be reconsidered by an expanding group of stakeholders. Together, the pressures of change and new stakeholder demands will create a new future for learning.

Map of Future Forces Affecting Education
Prepared for KnowledgeWorks Foundation by the Institute for the Future (IFTF)
The 2006-2016 KWF/IFTF Map of Future Forces Affecting Education is intended to help you think about the future of education in the United States in an engaging and constructive way. The map presents a forecast of external forces that are important in shaping the context for the future of public education and learning in the next decade.

Ray Anderson - CEO of Interface on the business logic of sustainability
At his carpet company, Ray Anderson has increased sales and doubled profits while turning the traditional "take / make / waste" industrial system on its head. In a gentle, understated way, he shares a powerful vision for sustainable commerce.

5 Personal Core Competencies for the 21st Century
The View from Harvard Business • By Sean Silverthorne August 13th, 2009
What are the core competencies needed in this century? Harvard Graduate School of Education professor Helen Haste has identified five that we should begin teaching our students. We business managers should also consider how to bring these skills to our companies and careers. See her video Five Competences for Adapting to a Changing World.

Big Picture Schools
Big Picture Learning’s mission is to lead vital changes in education, both in the United States and internationally, by generating and sustaining innovative, personalized schools that work in tandem with the real world of the greater community. We believe that in order to sustain successful schools where authentic and relevant learning takes place, we must continually innovate techniques and test learning tools to make our schools better and more rigorous. Lastly, we believe that in order to create and influence the schools of the future, we must use the lessons learned through our practice and research to give us added leverage to impact changes in public policy.

Unions Differ On "21st Century Skills"
In this blog item, colleague Sean Cavanagh noted that the American Federation of Teachers and the National Education Association are on opposite ends of the "21st-century skills" debate. (NEA is one of the partnership's founding members; AFT challenges the effort, per this letter.)

Did You Know?
Video on YouTube on the progression of information technology, researched by Karl Fisch, Scott McLeod, and Jeff Brenman, remixed.

21st Century Skills, Education & Competitiveness: A Resource and Policy Guide
Partnership for 21st Century Skills: (2008). 
This guide summarizes the challenges and opportunities that, if left unaddressed, will curtail our competitiveness and diminish our standing in the world. Excerpt: “Creating an aligned, 21st century public education system that prepares Americans to thrive is the central competitiveness challenge of the next decade. Addressing this challenge requires forceful and forward-thinking leadership from federal, state and local policymakers.”

Tony Wagner: 'The Global Achievement Gap' (#172)
Full Program: On September 16, 2009, education expert Tony Wagner addressed a group of Iowa educators attending the "Leading, Learning ... 55:25

Last Updated: October 16, 2009