To Find Career Success, Students Need More Real-World Skills

By the Keith Mays, the Kauffman Foundation

Insights November 02, 2021

That said, recent surveys show there’s still debate about which skills students should learn and the value of a college degree.

There’s a profound shift happening in attitudes about what life and work skills high school and college should offer students, according to recent national surveys conducted on behalf of the Kauffman Foundation.

If gainful employment is considered one of the primary goals of education, employers are increasingly looking at credentials other than degrees when making hiring decisions, whereas most adults and parents still believe a college degree is the best predictor of success in life.

But both employers and parents believe that a happy medium would be possible if high schools and colleges offered students more opportunities to gain real world skills and experiences. Where high schools are still locked in to preparing students for standardized tests, all parties surveyed also agree that students would benefit more from learning “essential” skills like communication, problem-solving and financial literacy, as well has having internships and projects with employers.

The online surveys, conducted by Global Strategy Group, reached three different groups: 2000 adults nationwide, including 680 parents; 750 high school students nationwide; and 523 employers responsible for hiring, also nationwide. The surveyors took care to ensure a wide range of demographics were represented among the respondents. Of the adults, 800 adults, including 200 parents, were from Missouri and Kansas.

Read the full survey by the Kauffman Foundation.

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