Tinker, tailor, soldier, sailor… A Public Policy Agenda on Today’s Students and Tomorrow’s Jobs


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From the Penn IUR and Penn GSE sponsored conference:

“Preparing Today’s Students for Tomorrow’s Jobs in Metropolitan America: The Policy, Practice and Research Issues"

May 25-26, 2011

Organized by Laura Perna, a professor in Penn GSE, and Susan Wachter, a professor in Penn’s Wharton School, “Preparing Today’s Students for Tomorrow’s Jobs” explores the most effective institutional and public-policy strategies to be sure high school and college students and adult learners have the knowledge and skills required for future employment.

“The conference addresses such critical questions as: How do we define success with regard to the role of education in preparing students for work?” Perna said. “How well are different educational providers preparing future workers? What is the role of public policy in improving connections between education and work?

“It seeks to improve our understanding of several fundamental dimensions of this issue through insights from federal, state and local policy leaders, college administrators and researchers.”

Guest speakers include Eduardo Ochoa, assistant secretary of the U.S. Department of Education; former Pennsylvania Gov. Edward Rendell; Lori Shorr, chief education officer to Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter; Charles Kolb from the Committee for Economic Development in Washington, D.C.; Claudia Neuhauser from the University of Minnesota; Bethany Krom from the Mayo Clinic; and Harry Holzer from Georgetown University.

“Much recent attention focuses on the need to improve high school graduation and college degree completion. But, relatively less attention has focused on whether graduates and degree recipients have the skills and education required by employers,” Perna said.

The event is sponsored by the Penn’s Pre-Doctoral Training Program in Interdisciplinary Methods for Field-Based Research in Education, with funding from the U.S. Department of Education’s Institute for Education Sciences in collaboration with Penn’s Institute for Urban Research.

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Tinker, tailor, soldier, sailor… A Public Policy Agenda on Today’s Students and Tomorrow’s Jobs

  1. 1. Tinker, Tailor<br />Tinker, tailor, soldier, sailor… <br />A Public Policy Agenda on <br />Today’s Students and Tomorrow’s Jobs<br />1<br /> Alan Ruby, May 2011<br />
  2. 2. Overview: Four Perspectives<br /><ul><li> Personal
  3. 3. Historical
  4. 4. Conceptual
  5. 5. Empirical </li></ul>2<br />
  6. 6. A World of Certainty or Chance?<br />3<br />
  7. 7. Assumptions @ School & Work<br />Some education is good for all but a lot of it is only needed for a few;<br />Differentiation and specialization should start early to prepare people for work; and<br />Should be based on ability and gender.<br />4<br />
  8. 8. Manual Arts@1960<br />5<br />
  9. 9. Post-School Training<br />6<br />
  10. 10. This is Not a New Issue<br />7<br />
  11. 11. Efficiency & Schooling<br />Order, stability & utility shape curriculum. <br />Standardizing student selection & tracking so they end in the “right” jobs or colleges. <br />Reducing the “gap” between learning and earning and the transition between two types of institutions. <br />8<br />
  12. 12. Task Analysis<br />9<br />Frank Gilbreth, Motion Efficiency Study, c. 1914<br />National Museum of American History, Ehring Center<br />
  13. 13. A Communication Problem <br />10<br />Adams, The Wall Street Journal, <br />April 9-10,2011<br />
  14. 14. Competencies<br />“The ability to meet complex demands successfully or to carry out an activity or task.”<br />Embodied in an individual’s “internal mental structures of abilities, capacities and dispositions.”<br />11<br />Reychen, 2004<br />
  15. 15. Three Domains<br /> Acting autonomously;<br /> Using tools interactively; and<br /> Joining & functioning in socially heterogeneous groups.<br />Reychen, 2004<br />12<br />
  16. 16. Does Demand Change<br />Will competencies persist over time and place?<br />What drives change?<br />What of these is foreseeable?<br />13<br />
  17. 17. Shifts in Occupational Structure<br />The New Yorker, 10 May 2011<br />14<br />
  18. 18. Work Place Computer?<br />15<br />% of FT US workforce<br />BLS Current Population Survey Data <br />
  19. 19. Baby Boomers & Job Turnover<br />National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1957-64 births<br />16<br />
  20. 20. Educated People <br />Have more job opportunities through job growth<br />Are more competitive as entry requirements go up; &<br />Get their first stable job faster<br />17<br />
  21. 21. What We Do Know<br />No fine-grained alignment of education, access to work and individual returns;<br />Rhetoric about skills has not shaped practices; <br />Information is “the” school to work issue . <br />18<br />
  22. 22. Reprise<br />“Scientific” curricula designers focused on today’s jobs & efficiency gains;<br />Voc Ed advocates aligned parts of the system: parts of the economy & the labor market with part of today’s students’ skills.<br />New competencies integrate interpersonal & intellectual capabilities, uncouple skills & occupations & broaden first job destinations for individuals. Tomorrow’s jobs for today’s students<br />19<br />
  23. 23. A New Rhyme?<br /> ‘Broker, hedgie, blogger, techie,<br /> Lend or, borrow. <br /> Whatever I choose<br /> It’s only for tomorrow.’<br />20<br />