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August 2015: Workforce Development

Business leaders and community members have expressed an interest in high school and post-secondary programs that will provide the skills needed to enhance the Austin workforce and economy. In August we invited community members to weigh in on exactly what that means. We asked: What qualities, skills, experiences, certifications, languages, etc. students should acquire before graduating? What can schools do to ensure that students acquire these critical attributes? What can local community and business leaders do to ensure that students acquire these critical attributes? How can schools and local community and business leaders support the development of bilingual students? Read more background details here.

Conversation Feedback Summary
When asked what qualities, skills and experiences fitflop forhandlere norge students should acquire, conversation participants focused on practical applications in the workforce such as basic business etiquette, the willingness to do what needs to be done, and critical and logical thinking. Attendees discussed the need for students to learn basic accounting, writing skills, how to make informed business decisions, and learning how to start a business. Other recommendations included giving students a better understanding of financial systems - managing money, saving and investing, building equity, etc.

Soft skills were also addressed, including honesty, integrity, emotional intelligence, confidence, self-reliance and initiative. Being able to work with people, build relationships and solve conflicts was a theme from many conversations.

Participants addressed that “one size fits all” education is obsolete, and the need for a variety of options. Suggested methods included specific trades training, internships, apprenticeships, mentoring and interaction with the community. Setting up mock jobs and interviews, field trips, workshops, and job fairs were all brought to the discussion table. To make this possible participants believed that businesses should be involved with schools on the staff level. They also suggested that if businesses don’t go to the school boards, school boards should seek out businesses.

Discussions also focused on the need for support from schools and local community business leaders in the development of bilingual students: helping bilingual students to identify opportunities with their skills and helping non-bilingual students to add a second language. Offering community service and network opportunities, encouraging relationship development through mentors and coaches, teaching conversational and business languages (in Spanish and Vietnamese, etc.) are all ways attendees suggested would be beneficial toward increasing the language capacity for students.

Funding was addressed in many conversations and focused on fitflop sandaler how more affluent areas and schools receive better funding for programs then poorer schools. Participants felt that money should be distributed evenly among schools to reduce the number of disadvantaged students. Concepts of affordability and student debt were addressed, specifically around the role of for-profit schools. Members suggested that AISD and ACC should focus on how they can offer credentials and enough spots in school programs so students don’t have to turn to for-profit alternatives.  They also proposed that enforcing dual credit at more high schools would make education more affordable.

Several conversations brought to light the ways in which we should be attuned to input that is already available. What successes have some schools already seen and how do we emulate that? What are the things that the business community has already made clear that it needs? And how can we utilize research that has already been done?

Read the full report here

How discussion feedback has been used
The feedback report was reviewed by the Career & Technical Education (CTE) department staff, and noted that several of the findings align with feedback from our CTE district advisory committee regarding the need to teach soft skills. As a result of input provided by the advisory committee and the report we are providing ongoing professional development and curricular resources to support teaching students employability skills.