School & District Management Report Roundup

Study Pinpoints Educator-Employer Disconnects

By Sarah D. Sparks — December 11, 2012 1 min read
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Despite efforts to improve college and career readiness, students, educators, and employers around the world still largely exist in “parallel worlds,” never really aligning the skills students learn in class with the ones they need after graduation, according to a new study by the McKinsey Center for Government.

The report released last week identifies obstacles at critical junctures of a student’s school-to-career path. For example, nearly a third of those who graduate from high school never enroll in college because of the expense. Of those who do enroll, about 60 percent of students say they wanted on-the-job training and hands-on job skills, but fewer than half had courses that met those goals. Once they graduate, 25 percent to 40 percent of students found they were unable to get a first job related to their college major. That matched employers’ experiences; 69 percent of employers reported difficulty in finding job candidates with the right skills. Effective training programs around the world had two common traits, the study found. First, educators and employers worked together with businesspeople helping to design curricula and place students in internships. Second, teachers and employers worked with students “early and intensely” to prepare them for a job.

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SOURCE: McKinsey Survey, August-September 2012

Researchers for the center, part of the international London-based research firm McKinsey & Co., surveyed students, education providers, and employers in nine countries: Brazil, Germany, India, Mexico, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, the United Kingdom, and the United States. They also analyzed case studies of more than 100 education-to-work programs in 25 countries.

A version of this article appeared in the December 12, 2012 edition of Education Week as Study Pinpoints Educator-Employer Disconnects

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