States are recognizing that career pathway initiatives are necessary in K-12. Students must become aware of the future that awaits them after high school graduation. Today’s economy is requiring talents to obtain innovative, entrepreneurial, and high skills as a strategy to gain some type of economic success. Not to mention, revitalization projects in urban cities, are calling for talents to utilize their artistic talents to preserve the culture that enriched these communities for years.
Here’s the key: schools still have to follow a traditional curriculum to ensure that our students gain basic skills. The question is: How do we prepare our youth to utilize a combination of their traditional educational background and natural talent to customize their career goals? For an example, how can a student use an accounting degree or English degree to create an innovative venture? How do we transition the notion that Art is possible to be incorporated in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineer, and Art). Most importantly, how do we train our youth to create programs based on the needs of their communities.
Working a 9 to 5 job is a great start to develop experience and network, but today’s economy may call for an “outside of the Box” way of thinking. Granting, not everyone feels comfortable to be the chief and manage their own ventures. Even in the 9-5, that career can still allow employees to use their innovative skills to contribute to ideas so that companies can compete in the global economy. If you are that employee, make sure you maintain a portfolio in case you decide or are forced to go a different direction. Career Pathway initiatives must provide enough guidance that will allow future graduates to get their foot in the door.
For independent spirits, who have goals of starting their own ventures, opportunities are possible. However, success is about building your network and developing effective marketing strategies. Education, career, and community resources must strengthen to ensure that our youth gain enough self worth so they can fulfill their dreams and succeed in the “gig economy. Most importantly, develop a mentor relationship with non-traditional “gig” professionals who are able to succeed, despite negativity and struggles. When I am stating non-traditional, I am referring to“gig” careers that occur outside the “9-5” norms of the global economy. Some may have dreams of organizing a community art center, creating international or food blogs, or providing services as contractors.
RTC plans to collaborate with practitioners and policy leaders that will, not only, strengthen career pathway initiatives for our youth, but encourage creativity and entrepreneurship. Such policies would include expanding funding for programs that support our youth to use their natural talent to customize career goals instead of thinking in 1 dimension. Time will tell how the direction of career training will take during the age of globalization, career pathway, and gentrification. RTC is excited for participating partnerships and campaigns in 2019!
Latoya Wilson, MPA, Founder of Rebuild Talent Consultancy