Are We Preparing Students for the Jobs of the Future?

Are We Preparing Students for the Jobs of the Future?

The world economy is changing, and with it, brings a changing workplace. The reality is that we can’t fully prepare today’s students to do specific jobs in the future. But what we can do is think about what skills they’ll need – and apply techniques and curriculum that helps to develop those.

It’s been two years since the World Economic Forum published its report on The Future of Jobs. Fast forward to 2018, and much of what we learned back then now is common knowledge.

Nearly two-thirds (65%) of children entering grade school today will end up working in jobs that don’t even exist yet. New technologies are enabling more remote working than ever before – think “digital nomad.” And the gig economy is driving more reliance on an augmented workforce of consultants, freelancers and contractors to fill specific talent gaps. Women are gaining more economic power, and technological advancements are transforming what and how business is done worldwide.

The world economy is changing, and with it, brings a changing workplace. The reality is that we can’t fully prepare today’s students to do specific jobs in the future. But what we can do is think about what skills they’ll need – and apply techniques and curriculum that helps to develop those. That presents exciting opportunities for those in science education roles. Here are a few ways that STEM educators can prepare students for the knowns and unknowns that await them in the job market:

 

The Rise of Remote Work

 

A 2017 Gallup survey found that 43 percent of employed Americans said they spent at least some time working remotely, Globally, the numbers are even higher (70%), according to one survey. Working remotely requires new technologies and infrastructure that supports connectivity, speed, interaction and efficient work processes. Future technologists – those K-8 students in our classrooms today -- will be creating working environments, where no doubt, coworkers from all over the world will meet virtually every day. Virtual reality and augmented reality are nothing new in the tech world, but they quickly are moving into the mainstream. Today’s students will build on those technologies and create ways for remote work to seamlessly bring together people from all over the world.

 

The Mandate for Climate Change

 

The world has come a long way from Rachel Carson’s “Silent Spring” launched the environmental movement. Most nations are making strides toward becoming greener. Scientists and engineers today and in the future will study ways to mitigate the effects of the world’s changing environment. They will need to harness natural and raw materials and engineer new, green materials to counteract the over-exploitation of ecosystems. Those skills will come from a solid base of science education, and teachers who nurture and encourage inquisition and creative problem solving.