We’d like to spend a little time with you today to talk about what today’s high school students and their parents need to know about the future – how jobs have changed, and what that means for what high school students need to do in high school, and what they need to plan for after high school.
This information is provided for you by the Northern Kentucky Council of Partners, our region’s P-16 Council. This group is a collaborative of the seventeen school districts in our six county region, the schools of the Diocese of Covington, and our three postsecondary institutions – NKU, Thomas More College, and Gateway Community & Technical College. The Council also has a number of business and community partners.
This is the beginning of high school – and the time has come to seriously look toward the future, and ask, will I be ready?
If there is any theme that is important for all of today’s high school students, it is that the jobs that will be available require higher level skills and more education than at any time in our history. Most jobs in the 21 st century that provide a decent living will require some kind of education or training beyond high school. Everyone may not need a four year degree, but all high school graduates need to plan on some type of additional education or training.
There are several fast growing career fields, both here and across the county. However, careers in allied health and technology are two of the fastest growing, and that is certainly true in this region.
All of the examples of jobs in those fields listed here require some postsecondary training- Heath Aides on the job training, Network systems- BA, Software engineers- BA, Forensic technicians- At least an associates degree, PT- Masters degree
Not only is education beyond high school require for most good jobs, but it also pays more money! A person with a Bachelor’s degree can expect to make about twice as much a year as a person with a high school diploma.
Over a lifetime, that makes a huge financial difference.
In Kentucky, the annual salary with a Bachelor’s degree or higher is not quite twice that of a high school graduate, but close.
Across the country, the combined effects of baby-boomer retirements, flat educational attainment rates and slow workforce growth should result in significant labor shortages, especially in jobs requiring the most skill and providing the greatest economic value (ETS- Standards for What?). So today’s students that get the education required will have a much better chance of getting the jobs they desire.
Let’s look at how the required skill level of jobs has changed. In the 1970’s, there were lots of low skilled jobs, and very few that required higher skills. That began to change in the 90’s, as more and more jobs required at least a high school diploma and some kind of postsecondary education. The expanse was in those mid-skill positions. By 2010, you can see that the lower skills jobs continue to shrink, and where the growth is is at the highest skill level. What do you think this shape will look like when your kids are ready for the world of work? Interestingly enough, the population almost looks like these graphics. In the 70’s, we had lots of young people. So we could afford to lose some along the way. And as we said up til that time, high schools were designed to “lose” some. In the 90’s, we realized that there were lots of baby boomers, people reaching middle age. And as people had had fewer children, the relative size of young people got smaller. Today, those baby boomers are aging and living longer, and our percentage of young people continues to get smaller. So, if we are going to have the kids with the skills for the jobs of the 21st century, we can’t afford to lose any of them!
Another indication that the situation with jobs is changing is shown here. Notice how the relative percentage of skilled vs. unskilled jobs has changed over the last 50 years. And this information is 8 years old! The percentage of unskilled jobs will continue to shrink, to around 10% by the end of this decade. It is now about “brains,” not “brawn.” No longer can we depend on the strength of our bodies to get us good jobs, but the strength of our minds.
As we mentioned, most of our students will need to plan on some kind of postsecondary education after high school. Unfortunately, right now, many are not prepared to be successful, whether they right on for further education, or directly into the workforce.
The kinds of skills we used to associate only with “college,” and thus needed by only some students, are now essential for both success in postsecondary education and the skilled workforce. Employers tell us over and over that critical thinking and analytical skills, as well as excellent communications skills, are essential for even entry level positions.
So now, what we used to call the “college prep” curriculum is fast becoming the standard curriculum for everyone, as it is those courses that help students develop the skills needed for success. The minimun high school graduation requirements are currently under review, and though we don’t know specifically what the outcome will be, we do know that in the next decade all students will be expected to complete something like these courses.
Encourage your kids, parents, to take those advanced classes. Just the exposure to higher level material has amazing value to all kids.
One of the things that we know pretty clearly, is that the more mathematics a student takes, the better chance that student has of doing well after high school. This information indicates how taking math increases the chances of obtaining a Bachelor’s degree.
And so what if students don’t have all the classes they need to give the background for success? For many students, it means placement in one or more remedial classes – those that you pay for, but do not result in any college credit. These are designed to “remediate” something that a student didn’t learn…Sometimes with success and sometimes not.
NKU has found, like most other institutions, that many students currently come without the academic skills to succees. As you can see, 46% of the entering NKU students in 2006 had to take at least one remedial class.
Let’s look at another group of students - those graduating from all 22 high schools in our six-county region who went to a four year Kentucky institution in the fall of 2000. Yes, this is a few years ago, but not much has changed. 35% had to take at least one remedial class. And the percentage at Kentucky’s 2-year institutions is closer to 60%.
So what’s the problem? Since students get no credit for these classes, they don’t make as much progress, they fall behind their peers, they spend someone’s money - and often leave school with no degree, few credits, and debt in far greater percentages than those with no remedial classes. As you can see, students with more than one remedial class are far less likely to return, have lower grades and earn fewer credits, and are much less likely to actually complete the degree they planned on.
Another part of the preparation is having the rigorous classes that help a student be successful on their ACT test. As you can see, NKU, Thomas More require at least a 19 currently. A low ACT score is often the reason that a student ends up in a remedial class.
Kentucky falls behind the national average on all ACT scores – composite, as well as the content scores. Another reason that we must encourage every student to take the courses that lead to higher ACT scores.
We mentioned before that the more math you take, the better your chances are at earning a Bachelor’s degree. Higher level math courses also help raise a student’s ACT score. As you can see, less than three math courses means probably not even getting in to any postsecondary institution. The more math a student takes, the better the ACT score.
We’ve said that postsecondary education or training must be in every student’s plan – but that does not mean a 4-year degree.
A student can earn $40 K - but must have postsecondary training (usually community or technical college, leading to a 2-year degree) As an example - installing lines is a high growth occupation but requires training beyond high school, probably at a technical college. Can make up to $50K There are many career areas that have excellent salaries and job choice that require 2 years of postsecondary or less – but most do require something beyond high school
So make sure you (or your child) is prepared – so you will be the one who stands out.
What can students do to make sure they are ready? You have to be there to learn, and be ready for class The toughest courses you can take will pay off in the long run Set your goals high and stick to them!
And parents can help too. Things are different now than when parents were in school - and that means parents have to help prepare their kids for a different environment.
And your school has some responsibility also. Keep your communications open with your school, and make sure they believe every child can learn at a high level and are providing the opportunities for all kids to be successful.
The future that awaits today’s students is different from anything we have known, and takes a different kind of preparation. But if you take the needed steps, you can be confident about the future!
Are You Ready for High School? Information Students and Parents need to Know
What is the Northern Kentucky Council of Partners? (P-16 Council)
A group of regional education leaders at all levels, with business and community partners
Focuses on education issues from preschool (P) through postsecondary (16), with emphasis on transition between levels and curriculum alignment
Major goal is prepare high school graduates for success in postsecondary education or the workplace
Source: International Center for Leadership in Education, 2004 The Changing Nature of Jobs
Education and Jobs in the U.S. Educational Testing Service 2003: Standards for What? The Economic Roots for K-16 Reform Professional 20% Unskilled 60% Skilled 20% Skilled 62% Unskilled 12% Professional 26 % 1950 2000-2010
Students who take advanced classes in high school are more prepared for college-no matter what their grade is.
Students who take more difficult math courses have greater success at attaining a Bachelors Degree Highest Math Studied Percentage of HS Grads Earning Bachelors Calculus 79.8 Pre-Calculus 74.3 Trig 62.2 Algebra II 39.5 Geometry 23.1 Algebra I 7.8 Pre-Algebra 2.3
And what happens if students aren ’ t prepared?
Students who do not meet the ACT requirement or are missing a required course have to take remedial classes
Students who have to take remedial classes :
Still pay full tuition for the class
Do not get any college credit
And many of our students have to take these courses
2000 Northern Kentucky Graduates Attending KY Four Year Institutions Fall 2000 No Remediation 65% At least one Remedial course 35%
And what happens to those students who have to take remedial classes?
They are much less likely to return sophomore year
They are much more likely to have less than a 2.0 and less than 12 credits at the end of one year
They are far less likely to complete a degree
They are much more likely to leave their institution with debt and no degree
ACT/ GPA Requirements for College University of Kentucky 22-27 ACT 3.3-3.9 GPA College Prep Northern Kentucky University Min. 19 (2005) Min. 20 (2006) 3.0 GPA college prep required Thomas More Min. 20 ACT GPA 2.0/ top 80% of class
ACT Scores 2004 www.act.org Composite United States 20.9 Kentucky 20.3 Math 20.7 19.7 Reading 21.3 20.9 Science 20.9 20.4
Courses Add Points to ACT Less than 3 Math Courses 17.3 Algebra I, II and Geometry +1.8 19.1 Advanced Math +1.7 20.8 Trigonometry +1.9 22.7 Calculus +2.3 25
What if a four-year university isn ’ t for me?
Success in the 21 st century requires education or training beyond high school.
Installing and Maintaining Telecommunication Lines