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A recent survey we conducted in conjunction with Morning Consult confirms something we’ve long suspected: Very few parents are confident that our country’s schools are doing an adequate job of preparing students to lead successful careers.

Though we have made significant technological advancements in the last few decades, our educational approach has gone unchanged. Workplaces are becoming increasingly dependent on 21st-century science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) skills, but most American high schoolers aren’t graduating with this critical skillset. They’re graduating without a clear idea of what in-demand jobs await them and with a limited understanding of what it will take to obtain those positions.

Changing this unfortunate reality isn’t just educators’ responsibility, however. Employers have a part to play as well – and parents see it too.

If employers want to contribute to the educational system that’s responsible for preparing students for successful careers, they must join in on conversations about curriculum and share the skills they find most valuable and difficult to come by. They must also offer students the opportunity to put the things they learn in the classroom to work via internship, externship, apprenticeship and job shadow experiences. In fact, we believe work-based learning is so important, we’re launching a nationwide Job Shadow Week on July 15.

Parents, educators and industry partners all have a part to play in preparing today’s students for tomorrow’s workforce, and that starts with us creating an education system that’s truly committed to Career Readiness.

Click here to view more insights from K12 and Morning Consult’s recent survey.

About The Author

Shaun E. McAlmont

Dr. Shaun E. McAlmont, President of Career Readiness, manages all aspects of K12’s growing Destinations Career Academies and Programs. He is responsible for providing career readiness and workforce development solutions for students that go beyond jobs traditionally aligned with vocational education to emerging new collar jobs of the future. Prior to joining K12, Shaun served as Provost of American Career Colleges and CEO of Neumont College of Computer Science. He also held multiple roles—including President and CEO—at Lincoln Educational Services, a provider of professional skills training with multiple “Lincoln Tech” locations across the country. Originally hired to manage distance learning programs, Shaun eventually oversaw all aspects of the company including operations, sales and marketing, and government and investor relations. Before his decade-long tenure at Lincoln Educational Services, Shaun served as President of the Online Learning Division at Alta Colleges. A former NCAA and international athlete, Shaun leveraged his success in athletics to inform his business career trajectory, notably writing his doctoral dissertation on advising collegiate athletes on career success. Shaun earned a doctoral degree in higher education, graduating with distinction, from the University of Pennsylvania. He has a master’s degree in education administration from the University of San Francisco, and a bachelor’s degree from Brigham Young University. Shaun currently serves on the BYU Marriott School of Management National Advisory Council.

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