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Issue Book - Preparing Today's Kids for Tomorrow's Jobs: What Should Our Community Do?

published: 2008

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(The following is an excerpt from the introduction to the issue book.)

A rising chorus of complaints from the nation's employers is a troublesome sign that too many of today's high school graduates are ill prepared for the jobs they seek.  What and how should young people be taught to best equip them for tomorrow's workplace and help strenghten the economy of the communities they live in?  What community resources--including but not limited to schools--can be brought to bear on the problem?

This 30-page issue book presents the following three approaches for deliberation:

Approach One: A Firm Foundation
Americans' strong work ethic has long been credited for building this nation's economy.  In this view, today's emphasis on "me first" and instant gratification has eroded this sense of responsibility.  Our focus should be on teaching basic work skills and character traits that are fundamental to job success at any level

Approach Two: Academic Competition
The United States has been losing ground in an aggressively competitive global economy.  Technology, math, and science are the keys to our economic future.  If American young people are to hold their own in tomorrow's marketplace, it is critically important to improve the number and rigor of K-12 courses and to create community expectations for excellence in these areas.

Approach Three: The Community First
There is a critical need for qualified workers to fill jobs in the local businesses that are the backbone of a community's economy.  In this view, community and educational goals should be created with the needs of the local economy in mind.  This will not only benefit graduates and businesses, but will strengthen the community as well.

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