There’s a good chance that the careers today’s 4-year-olds will have don’t exist now, but when they graduate high school in 2030, they will need to possess the skills of those careers regardless.

 

IMG_3647“(The future) will require more than just a multiple choice test,” said Casey Remer, Director of Policy and Programs at the Hunt Institute. Remer was speaking as part of a panel discussion at the 2016 Education Forum cohosted on June 7 by the Greater Raleigh Chamber of Commerce and WakeEd Partnership. The panel also included State Sen. Chad Barefoot of Wake County and Dr. Junius Gonzales, Senior Vice President of Academic Affairs at UNC, and it was moderated by BEST-NC President and CEO Brenda Berg.

 

The Forum’s theme was 2030: Education in North Carolina, and it focused on the types of skills students who graduate high school that year will need to be ready for college and career. Speakers discussed what skills they want from their employees today and how that will change in the future, what resources schools need to successfully graduate students who are ready to meet the demands of tomorrow’s workplace, and possible ways to shift the current methods to include more opportunities for students to develop those skills.

 

WakeEd President Steve Parrott opened the morning with an address about the importance of creating meaningful professional development experiences for our educators. This point was echoed in a panel that featured Dr. Amanda Marvelle, Biogen RTP Community Lab Coordinator, and Dr. Seth Carruthers, LORD Corporation Director of Chemical Technology and STEM sponsor. The pair shared how their companies are working with WakeEd and others to impact the school system. This included providing externships for educators to really learn the latest things happening in businesses.

 

As we work for changes in our school system, Sen. Barefoot said we must not be afraid to fail. “The fear of failure is stopping us from fixing our current failures,” said Sen. Barefoot, who serves as Co-Chairman of the Senate Committee on Education/Higher Education.

The K-12 pipeline is changing, but it isn’t keeping up with the way the career marketplace has changed. Instead of preparing kids for certain careers, they need to prepare them with skills that work in almost every career. Employers don’t want workers who can simply meet the expectations of a prescribed set of standards. They are increasingly looking for people who can think critically, collaborate on cross-functional teams, communicate ideas and information, and find creative solutions to complex problems. These are the 4 C’s that are built into the new mission statement of the Wake County Public Schools.

The keynote speaker, Achieve Vice President of Strategic Initiatives Michael Gilligan emphasized that school reform can take on many forms, but what it must do is make sure its kids can do more than just reading, writing and arithmetic.

 

The event, which was held at Marbles Kids Museum in Raleigh, was possible thanks to Silver Sponsor Fifth Third Bank, and Bronze Sponsors BSA LifeStructures, Duke Energy, Shaw University, TowerCo, and William Peace University.

Tim Lavallee

VP of Policy and Research