The vision statement developed by the Iowa Core 21st Century Skills Committee states: Each Iowa student will have the academic and social skills as well as the personal characteristics that empower them to be productive, caring, and competent citizens. This is consistent with the view that good employees may not be good citizens but good citizens always make good employees.
The employability essential concepts and skill sets represent universal content. They (1) contribute to outcomes that are valued for individuals and for society; (2) bring benefits in a wide variety of contexts and apply to multiple areas of life; and (3) are of use to all individuals, deemphasizing competencies of use only in a specific trade, occupation or walk of life. (OECD, 2005*).
Employers are demanding that employees demonstrate the skills to work productively in teams, communicate effectively, think innovatively and solve problems creatively. An overwhelming number of students leave their educational experience unprepared for the world of work. The employability concepts connect content and those dispositions required for success in life beyond school.
According to the Partnership for 21st Century Skills,
“…academic and cognitive skills, as essential as they are, are not all that is necessary for a successful life. In our global technological age, young people also need to work with and learn from diverse groups, be flexible in a variety of work and social settings, and be adaptable to changing times. They need to demonstrate leadership and take responsibility for results, show initiative and resourcefulness, and be productive and accountable for their actions.”
Integration of these critical skills across curricular areas will allow students to make the transition from the classroom to their roles as citizens and workers in an increasingly complex and unknown global market. The availability of a knowledgeable and skilled citizenry will enhance the quality of life and result in a profitable economy for Iowa, our nation, and our world.
*The Definition and Selection of Key Competencies, or the DeSeCo Project. Overview. Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, 2005.