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Article Archive >> Community

The Job Gap: Will Your Child Be Ready?

The Job Gap: Will Your Child Be Ready?
by June Streckfus

Here is the problem. Many of today's high school graduates fall short of the basic employment skills required for today's jobs. It's called the "Jobs Gap." It's a disconnect between the skills employees need and the skills many high school graduates actually have. And it's widening. Don't let your child get caught in the middle.
It's no longer possible to get a good job without a strong education. To have a chance in today's marketplace, your child needs not only the specific skills found in higher-level math and science and English courses, but also a solid grounding in basic skills such as reasoning and written and verbal communication. Today, these are musts for careers beyond a minimum-wage job.
Here is a quick picture of the job market your child will enter after graduation:
* In a survey conducted by the National Association of Manufacturers, 801 percent of companies who responded said they have a "moderate to serious" shortage of qualified job candidates with satisfactory skills in reading, writing, math and communication. In a Maryland survey, 60 percent of businesses said they have trouble finding new employees with satisfactory written communication skills, and 57 percent said the same thing about problem-solving skills.
* Nearly all rote task jobs are now automated with computers and robots. The easily-trained jobs that once existed are gone. Most of today's employees are "knowledge workers."
* Eight of the 10 fastest-growing occupations, according to the U.S. Department of Labor, require some education after high school.
* Of the 50 t op-paying careers, only two (air traffic controller and nuclear power reactor operator) do not require a 4-year college degree, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.
* Men and women with an associate's degree from a two-year college earn 18 to 23 percent more, respectively, than those with no degree beyond high school, according to the Economic Policy Institute.
What does this mean for parents? Stay involved in your child's choice of courses. The sooner your child takes Algebra I, the better. Make certain that middle school prepares your child to enter high school ready to take Geometry and Algebra II, and Biology, Chemistry and Physics, plus four years of English. And be sure that your child has the support he or she needs to pass these important high school courses.
It's not just for the sake of achieving in school. It's for the sake of succeeding in life.
To find out more, visit MBRT's Parents County web page at www.mbrt.org/parents

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