By Jennifer Rachel Baumer
It’s evident that education cannot remain static and neither can it exist as separate from the real world. Rather, experts agree it needs to be made up of a series of interconnected, flexible institutions that reflect the change of Nevada industries and the demands and opportunities of technology.
“You can’t educate kids in a vacuum. We always have to be looking at the future of the economy, what we’re preparing kids for, what jobs are. If we stay focused on what we’re doing, not really think about where we need to go for our children, then we’re doing our kids a disservice,” said Dr. Jesus Jara, superintendent, Clark County School District (CCSD).
“We have to be connected to each other as we do this work,” said Traci Davis, superintendent, Washoe County School District (WCSD). “Because we have to make decisions about what tomorrow looks like and what employers are looking for, and how we adapt to those opportunities K-12.” Graduation is often seen as the ultimate goal. However, some experts feel the goal should be to turn students into productive citizens whether their path takes them to college, military or straight into the workforce.
“The demand for educational expertise is widening and that’s markedly due to the nature of the industries that are moving into the state,” said Dr. Marc Johnson, president, University of Nevada, Reno. “There is more of an emphasis on technical educational certificates and the trades, because the trades are needed for construction.”
There’s tremendous demand for technical certifications for Nevada’s rapidly expanding manufacturing sector, too. “There are many job opportunities for individuals not getting four year degrees, but which do require a significant amount of post-secondary education,” Johnson added.
The challenge for all educators is, as Nevada’s skill-based economy grows, there’s need at all levels, from workforce-ready high school graduates and skilled workers with specialized certificates to individuals with advanced degrees, putting education right in the midst of the real world.
“There’s a need for a whole broad array of individuals with different kinds of education to support the economy that’s booming here,” said Johnson.
Read the rest of the rest of the article at nevadabusiness.com.