- Linking classrooms to real-world experiences by connecting students to industry experts can educate them about careers and help them find the “why” behind learning, eSchoolNews reports.
- This strategy is increasingly important as roughly 78% of all available jobs will require education beyond high school in the future and 60% of job applicants lack the skills necessary for most jobs.
- For schools who do not have easy access to industry experts, website such as Nepris can help. Connections with industry experts allows students to focus on what they want to do in life, broadens their experience of prospective career fields, helps them focus on their futures, builds trust between students and teachers, and shows students the connection between classroom learning and the real world.
While some students are true scholars who love learning for learning’s sake, most students are immensely practical. They don’t want to “waste” time and energy learning something they don’t see as relevant to their lives. This is why making real-world connections can engage students and help them set goals for their lives.
Schools can connect with local businesses and industries because these employers have a vested interest in promoting themselves to a future workforce in the area. Career exploration events are another way to connect students to their future. Websites such as Real World Learning Network, DaVinci Real World Learning, and Nepris can also offer ways to connect students to the real world, and teachers can also find ways to incorporate practical applications in subject areas such as math, science, or writing.
Increasingly, states are seeing the need for these connections. North Carolina just enacted a law requiring each local board of education to establish a business advisory council. The stated purpose of this council is to aid school boards in “identifying economic and workforce development trends related to the training and educational needs of the local community and advocating for strong, local career and technical education programs, including career pathway development that provides work-based learning opportunities for students and prepares students for post-secondary educational certifications and credentialing for high-demand careers.” Even if a state does not require this, district leaders can still establish such a council. Regular meetings with industry leaders a few times a year will likely help establish these connections and may create opportunities for donations and grant funding to support school programs in the future.