DEARBORN, Mich. -- SME and the Manufacturing Skill Standard Council have released a new white paper, "Transforming Career Counseling: Bridging School to Career in the Workforce of the Future," which provides recommendations on how to best counsel and guide middle school and high school students on career pathway options. The paper determines that enhanced career counseling can help drive economic prosperity and ensure students are not only trained, but also have the appropriate skills to fill gaps across various industries.
View the white paper here.
"A key message in our research and resulting white paper is that there must be a collaboration of various stakeholders — school systems, government, parents and employers — to enable career counseling and career plans to align with what companies actually need," said Pam Hurt, industry manager of workforce development for SME. "The first crucial step is getting to these students in middle school and high school."
Why is career counseling in middle schools and high schools essential?
An estimated 1 million students will fail to graduate in 2015. The primary reason students say they drop out is that they don't see the connection between their academic schoolwork and how it might prepare them for a career. This loss of graduates and potential skilled workers has a serious impact on the economy.
"Enhancing the current career counseling model and developing career pathways for students will support companies across the country and is vital for the economy" said Leo Reddy, chairman and CEO, MSSC. "According to the U.S. Department of Education, the economy will lose more than $3 trillion by the year 2020, if students drop out of high school at the current rate."
The joint SME-MSSC white paper identifies key barriers and challenges, as well as provides several recommendations:
- Students need an education and career pathway plan approved by their parents and discussed with a career counselor by the ninth grade.
- Career counselors should be required to have specific certifications that demonstrate competencies in career development.
- The career counselor-to-student ratio should be no greater than 1:250.
- Students should have access to career development activities, planned by career counselors.
- Real-world workplace examples should be integrated into classroom instruction, similar to the SME Education Foundation's Partnership Response In Manufacturing Education program.
- Leverage a competency framework model like that designed by Tooling U-SME to provide career counselors with clear, concise career information to share with students as they make decisions about their future.