Pocono schools should prep students for changing workforce | Something to Think About

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If you are like me, you find yourself interested in interviews of some of the rich and famous. Not the tabloid stuff, but interviews for magazines, on news shows and other mainstream media. I recently read an interview with Daymond John that harkened back to his public high school days.

You know him from “Shark Tank”, as a bestselling author, investor, and business executive to mention a few.

He highlighted for the interviewer (writer for the American School Board Journal, ASBJ), the reason he felt he was so successful and what he believes should be taught to make future generations successful. His high school offered a cooperative education program. Meaning he would go to school one week and work the next alternating the weeks. He felt the real-life experience helped him learn early on business skills that could put his education to work.

Interestingly, he gave a list of topics he felt should be included in a high school curriculum. They included: finance, business in general, how does interest work, how stocks work, credit scores, how important they are and all the related areas that are make or break for many.

More from Debbie Kulick:Need for diversified workforce spurs East Stroudsburg schools to act | Something to Think About

Of interest:Looking for work? Kalahari, Camelback, and Lehigh Valley Health are still hiring

The reason this interview resonated with me was that in following up on a previous article where I spoke of the future of education, and where it is going or what it needs to become for future students was on my agenda for this week. To cite a 2020 research report by Deloitte (Consulting), called “The Fourth Industrial Revolution”, by 2025 and moving forward we will enter an era in which Industry 4.0 will demand more well-trained workers. ( Jinghong Cai, Research Analyst, National School Board Association’s Center for Public Education)

The previous industrial revolutions were: (1) manufacturing, implementing machines that used water or steam power, (2) mass production and assembly lines powered by electricity and (3) computers and automation with the use of computer-based algorithms to control the manufacturing processes.

As schools prepare future generations for the jobs that will need to be filled, knowing what is needed is vital. It is estimated by the Manufacturing USA that about 4.6 million jobs will have to be filled in in manufacturing over the next decade.

So, what might some of these jobs be in what will become known as Advanced Manufacturing? Three examples of the 4.0 careers: optics technicians, working with scientists and engineers in development, design, manufacturing and quality control of optical components. There will be manufacturing positions producing flexible hybrid electronics that are used most often in both military and medical supplies.

columnist Debbie Kulick
columnist Debbie Kulick

An example of the third area of need will be cybersecurity specialists. In 2021 alone, there were more than 1 million people employed in cybersecurity in the U.S. alone with more than another half million job openings.

The lack of trained workers for advanced manufacturing has left more than half of the available positions unfilled. The skills necessary to adapt to the new technology are often not addressed in the current education systems, hence the constant reminder that STEM learning is the learning of the future. Science, Technology, Engineering and Math, although adding the Arts to become a STEAM school is necessary as well.

Often overlooked are the “soft skills” needed for today’s workers. Those such as dependability, reliability and adaptability have become vital components of successful employment. To address the current needs of employers, school districts are beginning to implement programs and practices that will provide students with the skills needed for the 4.0 Industries.

The revision of learning practices that will address these needs are putting a focus on three areas in particular: curriculum and learning environments, educators’ professional development a, and pathway and pipeline programs.

Preparing students for the changing world is not easy, but with new programs, the ability to apply new technology while focusing on the skills, both technical and educational that will address the “4.0 Revolution”, schools will equip students with a more demanding set of skills needed in the workforce.

— Debbie Kulick writes a weekly news column for the Pocono Record and Tri-County Independent. She serves on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic as an EMT.

This article originally appeared on Pocono Record: Debbie Kulick: Pocono schools should be ready for '4.0' careers