By Amy Schulz, Rajinder Gill, Dave Wahl
Los Medanos College is bringing New World of Work presenters on campus to provide intensive training, and is inviting local partners – high school and adult education teachers, counselors and career center staff, community-based organizations, and the Workforce Development Board of Contra Costa County – to join them.
The global economy is in the midst of a massive, transformational shift. Currently, one in three Americans is an independent contractor. These freelancers work as entrepreneurs in the “knowledge economy,” providing services to bigger companies on a temporary basis. It is expected that, by the year 2020, 50% of the workforce will be freelance. There are several reasons for this shift, including: technology that makes it easier to connect with the world; a rapidly changing marketplace that puts new pressure on employers to consider the long-term commitment of a full-time permanent hire; and individual desires for freedom within a work-life balance. While it is apparent the students of today will be the “solopreneurs” of tomorrow, what skills do they need to possess in order to succeed in the changing jobs market?
In 2013, as part of the New World of Work initiative, the California Community Colleges State Chancellor’s Office commissioned Feather River College to conduct a series of Skills Panels that included successful entrepreneurs, human resources professionals, K-12 and college educators, and students. The results of these discussions revealed agreement on the types of skills and traits students should attain to be ready for the new world of work. No matter their career or technical training, the art of work attainment and the flow of the workplace are changing rapidly, and will look vastly different from the workplaces of prior generations. Gone are the days of the 40-year career with a guaranteed pension. The workplace of today and tomorrow is not necessarily a place at all. It is a virtual matrix of collaborators, spread across the globe with varied projects – requiring different skill sets at different times. Tomorrow’s workers will need to be agile, financially savvy, entrepreneurial in their approach to work and how to market themselves to the world, resilient, and comfortable in their own self-understanding.
From the series of Skills Panels, the initiative identified the “Top Ten 21st Century Skills”: self-awareness, social/diversity awareness, resilience, empathy, communication, adaptability, collaboration, digital literacy, entrepreneurial mindset, and analysis/solution mindset. These are not content-based “hard skills,” but rather nuanced “soft skills” learned through a combination of facilitated classroom activities and experiential learning. For the California Community Colleges, the “Top Ten 21st Century Skills” list has been a driving force in curriculum development and pedagogical methodologies to prepare students for the workforce they are entering. CCCCD Bond Report 2016-LMCTo learn more about the “21st Century Skills” and how colleges and K-12 institutions are integrating these skills into educational settings, please visit https://www.newworldofwork.org/.
Los Medanos College is bringing New World of Work trainers to campus for intensive training, and is inviting local partners – high school and adult education teachers, counselors and career center staff, community-based organizations, and the Workforce Development Board of Contra Costa County – to join them.