February is Career and Technical Education (CTE) Month, a time to recognize CTE’s important role in preparing students for successful careers. With the job market becoming increasingly competitive, college and career readiness are more important than ever. Yet, not all students have equal access to the resources and opportunities necessary for them to develop the skills needed to succeed in both college and the workforce. That’s why career-connected learning is such a crucial component of CTE.
Career-connected learning goes beyond traditional classroom learning by incorporating real-world experiences and industry connections. It helps students develop the skills, knowledge, and networks they need to succeed in the 21st-century workforce. Research has shown that career-connected learning can increase student engagement and motivation (ACT, 2021) and improve understanding of the relevance of what they are learning to their future careers (The Conference Board, 2020). It also provides opportunities to develop critical skills such as problem-solving, teamwork, and communication, which are highly valued by employers (The Lumina Foundation, 2021).
The importance of beginning career-connected learning in the middle and high school years cannot be overstated. During these formative years, it is a crucial time for students to explore their interests and career options and gain hands-on experience in their field of interest. By starting early, students can make informed decisions about their future education and career paths and build the skills and networks needed for success.
California-based Career Readiness Director (retired), Dr. Enrique Medina, illustrated the importance of career-connected learning in this way, “In education, like in life, we are driven by our interests and opportunities. Providing our youth the opportunity to explore careers and use that interest to teach them career-connected learning will result in greater success than learning in a theoretical and abstract way. All our students must be provided the opportunities to pursue their interests in a way that they can apply their learning with practical, real-life 21st-century projects and career-connected learning to maximize their full potential”.
An Innovative Career-Connected Learning Solution
NS4ed offers an innovative career-connected learning solution to help students explore various career paths, connect with industry professionals, and engage in collaborative learning experiences. Comprehensive programs also provide students with personalized support, including guidance on resume-building, interview preparation, and career planning.
NS4ed is committed to equity and inclusivity. Its solution is designed to be accessible to all students, regardless of their background or circumstances. NS4ed recognizes that students from underrepresented communities often face additional barriers to college and career success (National Association of Colleges and Employers, 2022) and provides them with the resources and support they need to overcome those barriers through increased opportunity knowledge of careers and workforce opportunities.
By combining a focus on equity with an innovative approach to learning and a commitment to student success, NS4ed’s career-connected learning solution is leading the way in helping students achieve college and career readiness. It’s the best choice for schools and communities looking to prepare their students for the future.
ACT, Inc. (2021). “The Importance of College and Career Readiness.” www.act.org/content/act/en/research/the-importance-of-college-and-career-readiness.html.
The Conference Board (2020). “Closing the Skills Gap: Preparing Students for the Future of Work.” www.conference-board.org/publications/publicationdetail.cfm?publicationid=6670.
The Lumina Foundation (2021). “The Future of Work: A Roadmap for Education Reform.” luminafoundation.org/future-of-work/.
National Association of Colleges and Employers (2022). “Equity in Career Readiness: Ensuring All Students Have Access to Opportunities.” nace.org/equity-in-career-readiness/.