College and Career Readiness In Appalachia: An Urban and Rural Perspective

Career Ready: Are You?

For decades, American businesses have been critical of the workplace readiness skills that high school graduates have brought to the workplace. A shift from a manufacturing-based economy to a more service-oriented job market has created a demand for a labor force that possesses these critical skills. Moreover, what has been lacking are programs that can address this issue. Gewertz (2016) found that only 8% of U.S. high school graduates completed a Career College Readiness program. Also, only 25% have a clear idea of how to move into career pathways coupled with a limited amount of information on how to choose a career path (Cuseo, Thompson, & McGlauglin, 2016).

How do we address this issue in Appalachia?

Through collaborative efforts with local business, practitioners and postsecondary institutions, students will be exposed to resources that they can use in their transition from middle school -high school and into college or the workforce and beyond. Students who complete the training will earn a career readiness certificate to present to potential employers or an academic institution as a component of their professional portfolio.

This program supports a developing model based on three areas of emphasis: Career READINESS, Career AWARENESS and Understanding Cultural DIVERSITY (R.A.D.). The program is structured to support student success plans, career pathways, provide an introduction and further exploration of resources that supports career development. Once implemented, this credential can be provided based on a student’s ability to demonstrate career readiness and work ethic competencies which include problem-solving, teamwork, punctuality, and technical skill competencies.