Date ArticleType
2/26/2018 Chamber News
Building a Career Ready Workforce

A few weeks ago Bill Daggett, the Founder and Chairman of the International Center for Leadership in Education, spoke at Fredonia and Maple Grove school districts on the topic of preparing students for future success.  I had the opportunity to hear him deliver an evening presentation at Maple Grove and it was a powerful message. He spoke about the accelerating impact of technology and how it is quickly changing the skill set that our children will need to acquire to be career ready. Our educational institutions struggle to change at the same pace as technology, creating a gap between the skill sets required for today’s economy and the skills sets acquired in our learning institutions. An excellent point made by Daggett is that it is not that schools are failing it is that they are not keeping up with change.
Daggett makes the point that, “the current system was designed for a different set of outcomes, a different set of students in preparation for a different future.” Daggett notes that the first industrial revolution had a transformative impact on the model of public education. Like industry at that time, education adapted a very specialized approach to education. The good example of this specialization is how we learn the sciences. Traditionally we learn the sciences in a specific order and separate from each other. In 9th grade we started with the physical sciences, 10th grade biology, 11th grade chemistry and 12th grade physics. The sciences have been taught in silos, separate from each other. However as technology rapidly changes what we have witnessed is an integration of the physical, biological and digital worlds. Think for a minute about your cell phone and the developments in nanotechnology and biotechnology that are occurring. The skill sets required of the employees that support those emerging industries beg for a different approach in how our learning institutions teach. It is not so important that today’s worker or the future worker memorize equations, tables of data or specific historical facts, it is more important that the worker be resourceful and able to analyze, evaluate and create. A significant amount of testing over the years has focused on how much we could memorize, yet the top five skills required of today’s and tomorrow’s worker are complex problem solving, critical thinking, creativity, people management, and the ability to coordinate with others.

Our schools have significant challenges and opportunities in their journey as they seek to transform into places where students become career ready. It will take strong leadership, the buy-in of educators, the support of school boards and importantly the encouragement and backing of parents and the business community. We applaud Fredonia and Maple Grove for bringing Mr. Dagget to the community as well as other school districts such as Frewsburg and Southwestern that brought him to their schools in prior years. To learn more about Bill Daggett and the International Center for Leadership In Education go to

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