We are heading towards a time where conventional things will be done by unconventional means. Some of the things that technological advances will bring in a not so distant future - instead of doctors themselves, guided robots will be able to perform surgeries, while drones delivering packages is already a reality in a limited extent, that will be even more prevalent, and the cars will be truly self-driven. The future holds the promise of disruptive innovation. On one hand, it is heartwarming to see how far we have come, but on the other hand, it gives us chills in comprehending the breathtaking suspense of future adventures. In an effort to harness the future, we need to make sure that our children are prepared for the ever-changing landscape of the 21st century. For this, our schools need to stress on 6C's:
Of course, the right time to introduce these 6 C’s is NOT when our next generation is already in high school. Instead, we need to inculcate these values at an earlier stage in their K-12 education ensuring that they are ready for these concepts but still have enough time to hone in on them.
How would we put this into practice? I will be a voice to promote stronger industry collaboration and partnership for our students who are in Junior and Senior year of High School. If they are given an opportunity to do internships during their time in high school, they will have hands-on industry experience. This will be helpful in many ways including building the necessary soft skills to set them up for success in the future.
The students will be in a good position to figure out if they would like to attend a 2 yr or 4 yrs college or trade/vocational school.
If they would like to attend a 2 yr school, early industry exposure will help them to figure out their areas of interest and what they would like to do. Instead, if they choose to go for a 4-year college, the experience will be helpful for them to decide what they would like to major in. For some students, their parents are able to pay for college. For many, however, they will need to own the debt and repay themselves. Having early exposure will, therefore, help them to make smart choices and channelize resources properly.
Moreover, having an internship experience will go a long way when students will write their essays for college admissions. It will also help them in obtaining letters of recommendation from industry mentors as a part of the application process. Currently, only a few school districts have this program and bring it to the EP school district will help our students be ahead of the curve.