Posted on October 30, 2018 by Eric Moore

Across the world and across all industries, a successful business – and economy – is dependent on educated, highly skilled workers. Unfortunately, California’s higher education system is not keeping up with the economy’s changing needs.

According to the Public Policy Institute of California, if current trends continue, it is projected that by 2030 California will face a large skills gap with more that 1 million workers with bachelor’s degrees short of economic demand.

California’s failure to keep up with the demand for skilled workers could limit its economic growth and mobility, and increase inequality with greater dependence on the social safety net. Eventually, if California’s workforce does not have the skills and training that employers need, then companies will not be able to operate at their full potential and will close or relocate.

Today’s educators are constantly challenged with “how does a high school student prepare to gain the necessary skills to keep up with a demanding and changing job market? How do we take talented, motivated students and create college and career pathways that can support their aspirations to make a better life for themselves and their families?”

Many experts agree the answer lies in the connection between parent engagement and strategic workforce development.  It has been well documented that when parents are positively involved in their children’s education and planning for life after high school, the educational, social, and economic benefits are lasting and significant for the family and community.

So, what to do?

The good news is that efforts to strategically address college preparation and career planning in middle and high school are important steps in forging the way ahead for California’s economic success. Closing the skills gap will require increases in student college eligibility, transfer, and graduation.

This can be supported by implementing family engagement programs and policies that improve student success, especially among underrepresented groups.  Parents, educators, economic and workforce development organizations, and policymakers can work together to build a stronger workforce for California.

But educational progress takes time, commitment and effort so it is important to act now.

Educate California has a long history of providing youth with help transitioning to college and the world of work.  Programs like LifePrep Academy improve the success of California’s workforce and economic future by educating, involving, and supporting parents.

We do this by working with parents to prepare their children for promising career paths through enhanced college and career planning in middle and high school.  And we collaborate with organizations who complement our mission and share our values.

Our intent is to provide students with the tools and resources necessary to strategically plan their life after high school and develop a 21st century workforce capable of competing in a global economy.

Share your thoughts on the connection between parent engagement and workforce development.