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Eleven Things We Heard at NCPN

Staff from the National Convergence Technology Center (CTC) recently attended the National Career Pathways Network’s annual conference – virtual for the second year in a row – to host a panel discussion on the successful implementation of the BILT (Business and Industry Leadership Team) model. National CTC Principal Investigator Ann Beheler moderated the discussion (entitled “Developing a Culture of Strategic Employer Engagement through the BILT Model” and attended by over 30 people) with administrators from Miami Dade College in Florida, Lakeshore Technical College in Wisconsin, and Columbia State Community College in Tennessee. The National CTC also hosted a special “teaser” webinar back in October to help promote the NCPN conference – that presentation and panel discussion, entitled Supporting High School to Community College Pathways with High Employer Engagement,” attracted 125 attendees.

To learn more about the BILT model, watch this 25-minute presentation that was delivered earlier this summer.

Aside from those panel discussions, the National CTC attended a number of breakout sessions and keynote presentations. Below are a few of the more interesting and memorable statements and perspectives we heard.

1. In a recent survey, employers were asked over a four-year period what element is the most important thing when hiring employees. The biggest vote-getter never changed – for all four years it was “work ethic.” Education always ranked last. The thinking is that at this point education is expected. It’s the “price of entry” rather than a differentiator.

2. To motivate workers and foster work ethic, focus on the employee motivations and reasons rather than the employer motivations and reasons. Try to help the employee care. Connect with their heart and their emotions.

3. The less you know about something, the better at it you think you are. Young people often fall into this category of overconfidence, so help raise their self-awareness. Coach them to realize how much they don’t yet know.

4. Colleges offer a lot of student support, but rarely are those programs coordinated. Students need to know about the resources in order to use them. Make sure they are informed.

5. Students realize now that there are many ways to receive an education – in-person, online, hybrid – so if your school isn’t offering what they want (and most know what modality they want), they will go elsewhere.

6. Schools should strive to do better than the old model of “you have to be here in person 9am-12noon three days a week or else.” Time spent does not always equate to successful learning.

7. That overlap between what you love to do, what the world needs, what can you get paid for, and what you’re great at is the “bull’s eye.” This is what your mission should be.

8. All sectors require a variety of skills – academic skills, life skills, employability skills (which gets you the job and helps you keep the job), and technical skills. But note that only technical skills are industry specific.

9. Today’s high school seniors will likely have 14 jobs by the time they’re 40 years old. They cannot plan for a single career.

10. One school asked everyone on Monday for a “what’s good?” report on current successes, which was then edited and polished for a mass Friday e-mail. That sent everyone home energized and excited.

11. Leverage successful events and programs to maximize their impact. For example, DECA high school students were asked to write a “what DECA means to me” essay. Those were then printed up and used as promotional items – the essays were turned into scrolls and tied with ribbons, which then went to faculty and administrators along with a muffin.

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