Giving Compass' Take:

• Heather E. McGowan, writing for Getting Smart, explains that since the future of work will revolve around technological advancements, the education system must calibrate to prepare students.

• The author contends that the fourth industrial revolution will require students to shift away from degree-focused goals and onto specific skill-based certifications. How can educators make this shift seamless for students?

• Read about how student choice can help students prepare for the future. 

Nearly 100% of the jobs created during the economic recovery went to workers with postsecondary education training. That training really begins in high school. The work of the future will require a robust system of lifelong learning and high school may just be the fulcrum in that system, best positioned to make the necessary profound changes across the system.

The Georgetown Center on Education and the Workforce predicted that without changes to our postsecondary education system immediately, our economy will be short 5 million workers  by 2020. This is not new information but our responses to these challenges are insufficient. Merely pushing more people on the existing factory pipeline through higher education is not working. Nor are efforts to retrain those displaced in short-term skill acquisition boot camps. We need to start thinking differently.

The first industrial revolution was steam, the second was electrification and mass production, and the third was the advent of computerized technologies and with it the automation of physical labor such as manufacturing. The fourth industrial revolution will be marked by many advances in many forms of technology but most notably the automation of cognitive labor.

If the future of work includes 15 or more jobs per person—we must rethink how we define ourselves. This will require a shift from a set identity bestowed by external validation (degree, job title, company affiliation) and focused around the application of skills and knowledge at a moment in time to an identity formed from internal validation rooted in purpose, passion, uniquely human skills, and fundamental literacies.

This new work mindset will require a heightened level of self -awareness about one’s ability and methods for learning, adaptation, and value creation.

Read the full article about future of work starts in high school by Heather E. McGowan at Getting Smart.