R. Hill

University of Georgia (UNITED STATES)
Vocational training for 21st century jobs entails a fundamental challenge: how does one prepare for a job that does not yet exist? While it is true that this question does not apply to all 21st century occupations, the nature of the work people do and the rate at which jobs are changing has been steadily increasing over the past decade. Numerous economists, journalists, business experts, and futurists have written about the trends and changes, but it is clear that fundamental shifts have occurred due to the impact of global communication and transportation systems.

Rojewski and Hill have developed a new model for Career and Technical Education (CTE) that is comprised of 3 strands: career, work ethic, and innovation. The career component includes a focus on career awareness in the early grades, career exploration in middle grades, and career planning in secondary schools. Work ethic is comprised of attributes of dependability, initiative, and interpersonal skills. Innovation is developed in such a way that students can manage creative approaches to ill-structured, real-world problems and refine a generated list of possible solutions into a workable outcome that is within specified constraints and criteria.

This model provides a basis for vocational training that prepares participants for the 21st century world of work. It focuses on key elements that are relevant to occupations that exist today and that will be pertinent to future vocations. Vocational training also includes development of job-related skills and knowledge, but these will be ever changing or becoming obsolete. Maintaining a focus on the underlying strands of career, work ethic, and innovation will provide vocational training that addresses not only the next job a person does, but all future work they undertake.

Since these strands have not always been included as an emphasis in vocational training or have been addressed in an uneven manner, providing readily available resources to support their inclusion will be an important prerequisite for widespread adoption. The essence of this EduLearn12 paper and presentation will be discussion of this new model for vocational training and online materials for use in focusing on career, work ethic, and innovation as a foundation for preparing students for careers. Resources to be included encompass GAcollege411 (a career development Web site), The Work Ethic Site, and Web materials developed by IDEO | A Design and Innovation Consulting Firm.