Right now, 65% of all jobs, and 95% of STEM jobs require postsecondary education and training to qualify for consideration. This postsecondary education and training requirement is often a certification, college degree, or apprenticeship in addition to a high school diploma. Due to this focus on postsecondary education and training, many of our students, especially those who aspire to have a career in STEM, must pursue skill development beyond what they learn in a high school classroom.
Career readiness is the set of skills and competencies required to successfully transition into the workplace, college, military, or other postsecondary opportunity. Because the required competencies for postsecondary success are unique to every student and their individual path after high school, it’s important that schools provide a wide variety of support. It is our responsibility to provide career readiness that will prepare our students for postsecondary education and training, whatever that looks like for the individual.
To ensure career readiness for all students, we champion career-focused outcomes in academics at Gateway High School. Career-focused outcomes empower students with opportunities to apply and master the concepts that they learn in the classroom in a relevant postsecondary setting. Centering learning on the experiences that will be useful to them after high school goes beyond the core learning objectives, and allows students to uncover their own motivation to learn and be responsible for the results.
In the classroom and at home, students are encouraged to demonstrate competency – what they know and are able to do. For example, a student should be encouraged to know and apply geometric theorems, instead of answering 80% of the geometry questions correctly. This way, a student is able and prepared to use this knowledge as a fundamental principle in and out of the classroom. Otherwise, the focus is simply on what is needed to obtain 80% on a particular assignment, which falls short of our goal to prepare our students to use this knowledge in the future, as 80% (or any other relative, subjective outcome) is not a strong indicator of true, lasting comprehension. With observable and measurable outcomes, we set the standard for all students and help establish a foundation for their future.
As educators, we have a unique opportunity to not only prepare students for the future, but also to help them explore every possibility for their future. When we provide career readiness opportunities at school, we are able to reach all students, regardless of background, and inform them of the possibilities for the future as early as possible.
Many educators agree that a focus on outcomes is a focus on equity. We recognize that many of our students are faced with a gap in the opportunities available to them. When we focus on student outcomes, we identify real-world solutions that work to address inequity in the classroom and in our communities. An outcome-based approach makes it possible for all students to advance. With a focus on results, we are able to create unique pathways to success for every single student, regardless of the structural and systemic challenges that may exist for them.
Today, many people in the United States do not enjoy the same economic mobility that exists in other countries due to those gaps in accessible and equitable opportunities. While this opportunity gap can take many forms, there are some common factors are socioeconomic status, family expectations and obligations, and access to enriching institutions and environments. However, having access to high-quality education, taught to career readiness standards, can help ensure that every student in this country can achieve their goals and reach their potential.
The College & Career Center at Gateway High School guides all students along their four-year academic journey by unlocking their curiosity and supporting their passion for what’s next after high school. Whether your next step is college, career, or the military, our staff is ready to provide individualized, evidence-based assistance to help all students and families make the best decision about their future.
Don’t wait until your senior year – our College & Career Center has resources to help you now. Find out how the College & Career Center can help you prepare for success after graduation here.