Looking Forward: Preparing Our Students for a New Workforce

Defining College and Career Readiness

**ConnectEd: California Center for College and Career. (2012, January). College and career readiness: What do we mean? [Revised draft version 1.1]. Berkeley, CA: Author. Available for members at this link.

This document presents an operational definition of college and career readiness synthesized from the work of leading researchers in the fields of career  and/or workforce development, career and technical education, and education reform. The piece provides a framework that describes the 1) knowledge, 2) academic and technical skills, 3) dispositions and behaviors, and 4) ability to manage educational, career, and civic engagement, all of which prepare students for both college and career. The authors then discuss the framework’s implications for curriculum, instruction, assessment, and teacher preparation. 

Integrating College and Career Readiness Task Force. (n.d.). Defining career readiness (internal draft). Boston, MA: Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. Not available online.

National Association of State Directors of Career Technical Education Consortium. (n.d.) What does it mean to be career ready? (internal draft). Washington, DC: Author. Not available online.

These two documents provide viewpoints on key elements of career readiness. The first document outlines components of career readiness as developed by Massachusetts’s Integrating College and Career Readiness Task Force, composed of business, education, and community leaders. The second document outlines core elements of career readiness as drafted by the National Association of State Directors of Career Technical Education Consortium.

Conley, D. T., & McGaughy, C. (2011, December). Are college and career readiness the same or different? [Draft]  Paper presented at Implementing the Common Core State Collaborative Meeting, San Diego, CA.  Not available online

This paper explores the similarities and differences between college readiness and career readiness. Reviewing the prerequisites for a variety of post-secondary courses, the authors find that academic content requirements vary much more than cross-disciplinary skills, such as critical thinking, time management, and goal-setting. They also find a subset of the Common Core State Standards to be significant prerequisites across all post-secondary courses in the study. The authors conclude that college and career readiness share key aspects but are not the same. [Note: A version of this paper will be published in the April 2012 issue of Educational Leadership.] 

O*NET. Selected O*NET website materials. Washington, DC: Author. Available at http://www.onetcenter.org/

The Occupational Information Network (O*NET) is an online database funded by the U.S. Department of Labor that provides information on hundreds of different occupations and the skills required for those occupations. The first document, the O*NET Content Model, describes how occupations are categorized, taking into account both the requirements of the worker (e.g., experience, skill set) and the occupation (e.g., skills required, labor market projections). The second piece, Job Zones, outlines the five categorizations of jobs  that O*Net uses, ranging from Zone 1, in which a GED or high school diploma may be required, to Zone 5, which typically requires an advanced degree. We included here only this background information on which the website is built; there are several interactive sections of the website that could be informative in understanding the workforce options available to students with different interests or skill sets.

**This document is considered a priority reading.