A school superintendent once shared a story with me. He had overheard two high school principals arguing about whether the district needed some required classes that would hopefully better prepare students for career decision making. Apparently, one of the principals was pretty vocal about the need for more attention to college preparation. The other felt that helping students understand how to prepare for future jobs and careers was more important. My superintendent friend relayed to me that the room got really quiet. People began to turn their attention to this now very heated conversation. Then, in the silence of the room, one principal loudly and in obvious frustration exclaimed, “They [students] all have to go to work sometime, don’t they?”
Yet the education and training needed to go to work are constantly changing. And the skills and knowledge needed to get a job or career, and keep it, challenge today’s workers in ways that their parents and grandparents often cannot imagine. It is almost breathtaking to see how different the world has become in the last twenty or thirty years. Not only has technology made our world smaller, technology has changed what skills are needed to go to work and keep one’s job or career. Little can be counted on to remain the same for very long. There are many who agree that continued education and training after high school is a necessity. Few would argue that we could do a much better job preparing students for future success.
Time, energy, and money are not plentiful to a growing number of students. Yet, continued education and training after high school, especially in the world we live in today, is a must. As importantly, the new skill, perhaps taught in few places, is the ability to succeed in a future full of uncertainties. Now more than ever, whether people live in poverty, the neighborhood in which they reside, what they eat, their health care, how long they are able to keep their jobs, and even how long they live can be traced back to what they know how to do and whether they are prepared to learn what they do not know, regardless of their age, status or income. Therefore this book contains specific strategies for decision making and student success.
While the world moves ahead at a breathtakingly rapid pace, more and more students in the United States are unprepared for the ever-changing world of work. This book takes the view that students themselves, parents and others who care must become smarter consumers; assuring that students get the skills needed to live a healthy and productive life. I believe that navigating the rivers of information, commercials and marketing strategies put out by schools, colleges, universities and training programs has made decision making complicated and sometimes overwhelming. And truthfully, the world of education and training has gotten to be somewhat treacherous. Neither let us off the hook. In fact, it is the other way around. Over the past decade or so, increasingly, the responsibility for success or failure falls to students. This book is written to give them the help many desperately need.