Giving Compass' Take:

•  David Ross argues that schools can combine academic and vocational education to prepare students for the "no-collar" jobs of the future, which will not fit cleanly into any one category of work. 

• How can funders help schools to prepare their students for the workforce of the future? 

• Learn more about career and technical education

A few years ago, IBM CEO Ginni Rometty coined the phrase “no collar worker” and it has proven to be immensely sticky.

According to IBM, “New collar jobs are roles in some of the technology industry’s fastest growing fields – from cybersecurity and cloud computing to cognitive business and digital design – that do not always require a traditional degree. What they require instead is the right mix of in-demand skill sets.”

It is time to take advantage of no-collar opportunities business is offering, but that begets the question: What can school systems do to improve all graduates’ odds of success regardless of the path they choose?

I have long been an advocate of the portfolio approach to schools. There will be many employment opportunities that require a four-year college degree so we need schools that prepare students for that pathway. There will be many employment opportunities that require certification or a concrete demonstration of skills, and we need schools that prepare students for that pathway.

In the best of all worlds, we need schools that do both, and this mashup generation is ready. I’m inspired by the model being creating at Tesla STEM High School in Redmond, WA, where an AP Psychology class is combined with a state-approved forensics course normally offered via career technical education. I’m inspired by the curriculum being developed by ConnectED in California, which has created courses that seamlessly integrate career technical proficiencies with rigorous core academics.

Higher ed is responding, too. Broward College in Florida offers more than 40 associate and bachelor degree programs that embed industry credentials in an academic program. Similar programs are in the works because the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU) is participating in meetings focused on developing ties between four-year colleges and credentialing bodies.

Read the full article about preparing students for no-collar jobs by David Ross at Getting Smart.