In an age of accountability, schools worked harder than ever to standardize and measure their curriculum, instruction, and assessment to improve student learning. Yet, despite all the efforts made to increase the rigor and the learning of students to compete in the workplaces of the twenty-first century; the gap of career readiness seems to have gotten wider (DeYoung, 1989). The problem is students graduating from high school today in America are not adequately prepared to enter the work force without additional training. This is a serious problem for employers, as well as, a challenge to hire competent employees to compete in a global economy.
The researchers read books, articles, and journals to identify what skills employers considered employability skills and deemed essential and critical for workplace success. The literature provided foundational knowledge of the types of skills educators deemed essential and important for work readiness. The researchers analyzed which skills employers needed graduates to possess and what was being done in Kansas City area high schools to ensure students graduate ready for employment; in particular, the acquisition of applied skills and academic skills. This was accomplished by surveying high school principals and conducting interviews with district leaders in the Kansas City area. Graduates need more skills, in particular, applied skills to be successful in the workplace and employers need more skilled employees to compete in a domestic and global economy; both entities look to the American high school for the pre-employment training needed to be successful in the 21st century. The research literature was clear: graduates need more applied skills: critical thinking, the ability to collaborate, and communication skills emerged as the most important. To this end it is recommended that: Schools should provide more the rigor and the relevance in the instructional opportunities students experience in school; establish a credible work readiness credential for high school graduates; provide more access to pre-career opportunities for more students to differentiate and customize an educational experience to meet their individual needs; increase career awareness and an individualized plan of study for each student; and adjust diploma requirements for high school graduation to require credits in applied skills.
|Advisor:||Wood, Jo Nell|
|Commitee:||Lea, Dennis, Lyon, Sally Beth|
|School:||Saint Louis University|
|School Location:||United States -- Missouri|
|Source:||DAI-A 78/11(E), Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Keywords:||Career readiness, Career technical education|
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