In both strong and weak economies employers consistently report difficulties in finding employees with the skills, knowledge, and abilities demanded by the 21st Century global economy. Many of these businesses have trouble filling open jobs for high skill/high wage positions due in large part to a fundamental misalignment between the skills of job applicants and the increasing skill levels employers need. Specifically, employers need workers with sound literacy, numeracy, and computer skills, along with professional workplace skills that include critical thinking problem solving, and the ability to work in teams and adapt to rapid changes in technology as lifelong learners.
The new Indiana high school graduation requirements present a unique opportunity to advance the READY NWI goals by engaging employers as full partners with K-12 schools and colleges, blending classroom learning with real-world applications in the workplace. Northwest Indiana schools are committed to expanding work-based learning opportunities with new internships, community service experiences, work ethic certifications, projects designed by employers, and other means. Employers will be presented with new and exciting options for direct engagement with schools, students, counselors, and teachers. All students will use a career planning platform that will guide academic and work experience choices.