• Apr 6, 2021

Working to Learn: New Research on Connecting Education and Career

New White Paper from the Project on Workforce Highlights Critical Need to Better Connect Education and Career

research paper on teaching career

By: Joseph B. Fuller, Rachel Lipson, Jorge Encinas, Tessa Forshaw, Alexis Gable, & J.B. Schramm

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In the wake of covid-19 and growing inequality, america needs more pathways that bridge education and career. new research from the project on workforce at harvard draws on data from new profit's postsecondary initiative for equity to identify opportunities for the education-to-employment field and chart the course for connections to good jobs., press release.

APRIL 7, 2021 -- A new white paper released today by Harvard’s interdisciplinary Project on Workforce - Working to Learn: Despite a growing set of innovators, America struggles to connect education and career - highlights stark challenges and transformative opportunities for the growing field of organizations seeking to connect postsecondary education with employment.

The development of job pathways that integrate work and learning are critical to an equitable recovery and a future where social and economic opportunity are available to all. Workers from underrepresented communities, particularly communities of color, have been most affected by the economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic and traditionally have faced the largest systemic barriers to social and economic opportunity in America. These communities are wellsprings of insight and talent where people are poised to take advantage of stronger pathways to learning and earning amidst accelerating changes in our workforce and economy.

“Our research showed that many organizations purporting to connect both education and career are still struggling to do so,” said Joseph Fuller , Professor of Management Practice at the Harvard Business School and co-author of the report. “While standout organizations exist in the field, too few programs are linking soft and hard skills, prioritizing evidence, working with employers, or providing wraparound supports.”

The research utilized a unique dataset of 316 applications to an open grant competition for programs seeking to connect postsecondary education and employment. Analyzing these organizations, the report’s authors found:

Huge potential to engage employers more deeply: Programs that worked with employers were growing faster than peers, but only about one-third (35 percent) of organizations mentioned that they were working directly with employers. Only about one-quarter mentioned providing learning opportunities in workplace environments.

Opportunities to build bridges between education and employment: Only 16 percent of organizations prioritize relationships with both educational institutions and employers. Success measurement is similarly siloed between education and employment metrics; for organizations that focused on college-related outcomes, only 33 percent also prioritized employment outcomes.

A growing need to develop transferable skills in the future of work : One-third of organizations in the dataset focused on job-specific training, but just nine percent of organizations prioritized foundational soft skills alongside job-specific skills.

A critical opportunity for more investment in wraparound supports: Only 13 percent of organizations cited directly providing wraparound supports like subsidies for transportation, housing, or childcare.

A growing, but still nascent, evidence base: The most common success metric tracked by applicant organizations (59 percent) was whether participants completed the program. About one-quarter of organizations indicated that they measured employment rates and a similar share tracked college attendance. Causal evidence is more rare; nine percent of applicants cited an existing study, quasi-study, or external evaluation of the program model in their application.

Under-leveraging of technology in some areas : Before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the field was heavily skewed towards in-person models. Only six percent of programs were fully online; 11 percent had hybrid models.

“To date, the field is fragmented and often siloed between college and employment missions,” said report co-author Rachel Lipson , Project Director of the Project on Workforce at the Harvard Kennedy School. “But there is vast untapped potential to scale innovations both within and across organizations.”

Postsecondary Innovation for Equity initiative

The data for this research comes from the Postsecondary Innovation for Equity (PIE) initiative . The PIE initiative was developed by New Profit, a nonprofit venture philanthropy that supports social entrepreneurs who advance equity and opportunity in the United States. New Profit asked organizations that considered themselves innovators in the education-to-employment sector to apply to receive an unrestricted $100,000 grant and participate in a peer learning community. Of the 316 applications received, New Profit selected 20 organizations for the first round of grants and support. The full data set from the 316 applicants provided rich material for this analysis of the current state of the education-and-employment field.

Advancing the education-and-employment field

The PIE initiative supports innovators working at the intersection of education and employment to develop new approaches to connect young adults from low-income and underrepresented communities with the postsecondary credentials and work experience needed to access upwardly mobile careers. For example, CodePath.org is leveraging technology to help thousands of college students from underrepresented backgrounds gain the skills and connections they need to launch tech careers; Generation USA is forging close partnerships with employers to rapidly train and place adult learners into upwardly mobile jobs; and the Brooklyn STEAM Center is closing the gap between school and work by enabling New York City public high school students to learn through work experience at dozens of companies located at the former Brooklyn Navy Yard site.

“Scaling and disseminating successful models will be key to systemic change,” notes New Profit Associate Partner Glendean Hamilton , co-leader of the PIE initiative. “ Working to Learn points philanthropists and policymakers toward the kind of innovation needed to build a more equitable education-to-employment system in America.”

A virtual report briefing and discussion will be held on April 28, 2021 at 11:00am EDT and open to the public. Please register for the briefing at this link .

For media inquiries:

Nikhil Gehani, [email protected]

Rachel Lipson, [email protected]

About the Project on Workforce at Harvard

The Project on Workforce is an interdisciplinary, collaborative project between the Harvard Kennedy School's Malcolm Wiener Center for Social Policy, the Harvard Business School Managing the Future of Work Project, and the Harvard Graduate School of Education. The Project produces and catalyzes basic and applied research at the intersection of education and labor markets for leaders in business, education, and policy. The Project’s research aims to help shape a postsecondary system of the future that creates more and better pathways to economic mobility and forges smoother transitions between education and careers. Learn more at www.pw.hks.harvard.edu .

About New Profit

New Profit is a nonprofit venture philanthropy organization that backs breakthrough social entrepreneurs who are advancing equity and opportunity in America. New Profit’s strategy focuses on building a breakthrough portfolio of grantee-partners to take on entrenched systemic challenges in America, including by driving resources and support to Black, Indigenous, and Latino/a/x social entrepreneurs who have unique proximity to solutions, but face stark racial funding disparities in philanthropy; and investing in social entrepreneurs with new systems change models across a range of issues. Learn more at www.newprofit.org .

Funding for the Postsecondary Innovation for Equity (PIE) initiative at New Profit is provided by Lumina Foundation, Siegel Family Endowment, Walmart, Walton Family Foundation, and an anonymous investor.

research paper on teaching career


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Book cover

Career Change Teachers pp 99–114 Cite as

The Teaching Practices of Career Change Teachers: What Works and What Doesn’t Work?

  • Meera Varadharajan 3 &
  • John Buchanan 4  
  • First Online: 27 October 2021

333 Accesses

This chapter examines career change teachers’ classroom teaching methods, examples of teaching practices and the type of knowledge they bring and share to improve student learning. It proceeds to question the extent to which and ways in which teachers draw upon their various skills and their ability to connect these skills and expertise suitably and appropriately to support student needs. The chapter observes that career changers' life experiences, personal qualities and other general characteristic skills are likely to have a valuable impact on students and their future lives.

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1 Introduction

In part two of the previous chapter, we were introduced to Amy, Kamini, Jim and Sharon, their backgrounds including prior career and life experiences, and their motivations to change career and switch to teaching. We were also afforded glimpses of their journeys as teachers and highlights of what stood out in those journeys, including ways in which they understood students, other colleagues, school as a work environment, their passions and tribulations, as well as ways they navigated the transition process, based on their circumstances and context. We turn our attention to examining the teaching modes and practices of career change teachers. Keeping with the qualitative theme of bringing rich insights rather than generalizing, we acknowledge that every teacher is idiosyncratically informed by their own learnings, beliefs, understandings and influences about teaching practices as well as understandings about how these are to be applied in their classrooms.

The chapter has two primary components: firstly, to provide examples of career change teachers’ classroom teaching methods and teaching practices, and secondly to examine the extent to which career change teachers draw upon their past skills and knowledge to connect them in their current role. Transfer of competencies may not always occur automatically and smoothly, and complexities involved in the process will be discussed. The chapter will draw on examples of teaching practices and learnings as indicated by teachers Jim and Amy. Relevant descriptions given by other teachers who were part of previous research on career change teachers by Varadharajan will also be drawn upon ( 2014 ). Original quotes from interviews with participants in Varadharajan’s ( 2014 ) study have been added. This will be supplemented by examining the small literature that exists on career change teachers’ teaching practices. A point to note is where it does exist, and it is primarily embedded in the context of studies on STEM career change teachers—a group of teachers that we have focused on in Chap.  9 . In the absence of recent research in this area, we note the need for exercising caution when generalizing beyond the teachers and references discussed in this chapter.

2 Laying the Context for Career Change Teachers’ Teaching Practices

Teaching practices are often shaped by the experiences, knowledge and skills that all teachers bring to school. New skills and knowledge are learnt, while building upon prior learnings when involved in the process of educating learners. Similarly, all learners (school students) come to school with a set of skills, knowledge and abilities. Teachers have a duty to build on students’ prior knowledge, giving every student the opportunity to flourish and succeed in learning. Having had exposure in various settings before joining the teaching profession, career change teachers have a wider repertoire of skills and knowledge that they bring to the classroom and to their teaching practices. Armed with this additional set of skills and knowledge, career change teachers lend credibility to their teaching and are likely to positively influence their students and contribute to creating successful learning opportunities. But the ride for career change teachers and indeed for schools employing them is not always smooth sailing. Teachers might not always know how or which of their skills and knowledge to apply in current teaching and learning contexts. Schools and other staff might not know how best to utilize career change skills in classroom and other contexts.

Because of having workplace experiences in different fields or disciplines outside of education, career change teachers understand the context of what occurs beyond school. They are therefore keen for students to understand the connection between what they learn and its applications in the outside world. A significant aspect of career change teachers’ practices concerns how best to make those connections meaningful by utilizing some of their prior skills and experiences in effective ways to produce better student learning outcomes.

Teaching practices are informed by a range of different skills and experiences. Professional knowledge from prior workplace, skills and capabilities derived from previous careers, knowledge derived from prior education and from teacher education courses, experiences gained during practicum as a student teacher, experiences from their own time as a school student, individual’s own perceptions about their ability and personal attributes and characteristics are just some examples. We bring the totality of our knowledge and understanding to bear in our teaching.

New workplaces require new skills and prior understandings and experiences may not always be appropriate or adequate for the new workplace, and as with any career transition, career change teachers’ skills or experiences from prior employment and other contexts may not all be relevant or apply in education contexts (Haim & Amdur, 2016 ). The use and relevance would depend on the subject being currently taught, how closely the subject and subject content aligns with career changers’ prior non-teaching qualifications or work experience, characteristics of student cohort, year level being taught, and the competency and skill level possessed by career changers in connecting prior knowledge to curriculum and subject topics to name a few. Some subjects may lend themselves more easily than others for teachers to build and demonstrate the theory–practice connection with students. Studies show STEM career change teachers find it easier to perceive and build meaningful connections between their past experience and its applicability in the school context, for example, connecting theoretical scientific concepts in the curriculum to real-life examples in practice such as valuing reasoning, providing analogies and experimentation (Grier & Johnston, 2012 ). Teaching methods and practices, and the ability to make connections between past skills and present teaching can also be influenced by the length of time and experience of the career change teacher in their previous field, time needed to plan and build these “theory–practice” connections into teaching and curriculum, workload constraints and whether their contributions are met with support and enthusiasm from school staff and students. The lack of longitudinal research on career change teachers means we do not know the answers to some of these questions and for how long teachers may make connections to previous work. However, as long as they continue to identify themselves with their previous roles and profession, relevant connections between past and present will be made (Grier & Johnston, 2012 ).

Most significant of all perhaps is how career change teachers themselves make sense of the transition in their new role, their ideas and beliefs about teaching and teaching practices, how they consider themselves as educators and whether they believe they have the ability to apply previously acquired skills and knowledge into their teaching context (Tigchelaar et al., 2014 ).

Guided by Schlossberg’s ( 1981 ) transition theory, we examine career change teachers’ ability to cope with the transition to teaching and what enablers and challenges exist as they learn to navigate and connect their prior learning experiences in their current role. Haim and Amdur discuss the 4 S’s of Schlossberg’s transition theory— situation, self, support and strategies , in the context of 36 career change student teachers’ ability to cope with the transition to teaching after participating in an alternative fast-track induction program ( 2016 ). They describe a situation which relates “to the person’s perception of his or her new role and the school context; self relating to one’s personal characteristics and resources for coping with the transition; support includes not only the actual support provided throughout the transition, but also to how this support is perceived. and finally, strategies as ways in which the individual actually copes with his or her new role and role requirements, particularly strategies that manage stress” (Haim & Amdur, 2016 , p. 346).

3 The Teaching Practices of Career Change Teachers

When we consider the teaching practices of career change teachers, we can think of two dimensions: firstly, the theoretical and conceptual knowledge brought from prior roles or prior education and how that is applied in school curriculum and subjects being taught, and secondly, the skills drawn from diverse life and career experiences such as problem-solving and critical thinking attributes that could be applied to teaching general capabilities (Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority—ACARA) or life skills to students. Career changers look to multiple ways to offer a glimpse of their previous worlds to their students, and they may do this spontaneously and creatively during a routine class lesson (Varadharajan, 2014 ). The connection or transferability can extend beyond school content to trigger interest and enthusiasm among students for the subject or discipline area, helping students apply their knowledge to the workforce and in the real world (Tigchelaar et al., 2008 ). A science teacher, for instance, in order to dispel some of the myths about the scientific world, can talk about her contributions to the STEM profession in her previous role as a physicist and explain why STEM is important to solve some of today’s global challenges. In many ways, this attribute to spark interest in students is why many entered the profession and is the distinguishing factor from other teachers (Varadharajan, 2014 ; Varadharajan et al., 2020 ).

3.1 Connecting Prior Knowledge

We noted in Chap.  5 that Jim taught physics, and his previous career included working as a manager in the construction sector. He studied astrophysics at university. Jim was able to describe how he connected his previous work experience as well as his knowledge of astrophysics to teaching subject matter content to students.

I always hoped it [construction background combined with his qualifications] would help because I know I was using forces and things like that in my construction work, so it seemed like I would be able to apply a lot of that skill in [teaching] physics and it did. I think it really makes a difference. So, in that aspect, it gave me something different. I had this experience that I could share with them regarding that.

Jim felt he was able to transfer his competencies in engineering and construction to the classroom. As a physics teacher, he enabled his students to “see” the connection between what they were learning and how it is used in the practice.

I could speak about direct issues that I had known which I thought made it way more relevant than the books were saying, so I could pitch directly to them as potential engineers, based on my experience teaching first year engineering and also in construction, I thought that really worked well with physics.

He felt that his prior work experiences “ and dealing with other adults in a work environment ” enabled him to be confident as a beginning teacher among other teachers and colleagues.

Jim’s practical knowledge about physics and engineering and its applicability in the construction sector meant he explored creative ways of communicating and sharing that passion with his students, as this excerpt demonstrates:

I think my construction background was really helpful. Because you have a lot of students that are going to TAFE to do apprenticeships, you have got a lot of students in physics, everyone wants to be an engineer or a pilot … so in the engineering aspect of it, I could say, “when we are on a job, we are building a suspended slab, the forces were this, the design had to be like this.”

Like Jim, Amy took every opportunity in her teaching practice to relate her past experience with the content being taught. With an engineering background and having worked in accounts and now a mathematics teacher, Amy gave examples of how she used her practical knowledge of mathematics in the classroom, for example, in explaining a mathematical concept. Amy spoke of how the “real numbers” made the connection “valuable” and “meaningful” to the students.

I use real-life examples from my previous career, to explain things like consumer arithmetic, salaries and commission-based payments … that’s really connecting with the kids. I could see that they got something out of that and enjoyed that.

Amy strongly believed in the importance of providing a context to students when teaching mathematical concepts, whether it be through direct connections with her prior work or how certain concepts are used in everyday jobs by people who work in those jobs. She gave examples from her previous career when teaching concepts related to consumer arithmetic or teaching about wages and salaries.

And that’s really valuable, for example, when I am teaching how to calculate commission-based payments, I say, “this was my salary and this is how I worked it out and you know, what’s the difference”?...and they were real numbers and that makes it much more meaningful for the students when they can see one month I earned $2000 and next month I earned $10,000 and they go, wow (laughs) and so, that makes it real.

Similar sentiments were echoed by Tasfia and Matthew, two other teachers who shared their journey as part of Varadharajan’s, 2014 research study. As a mathematics teacher and having previously worked as an accountant, Tasfia’s knowledge about the real-world application of mathematics meant she was able to articulate the theory–practice connection effectively. At the same time, they might be spontaneous in how they apply their knowledge depending on how they see fit for their students and what works best in the circumstances. She quotes:

I just keep giving them practical examples of how things are going to be in the outside world. Whatever I teach, I try and bring the outside world perspective. I think it is very important. Whatever concept I teach in maths, I try and bring the outside world experience. My real focus is ‘how is the concept related to the outside world’. For example, if we are doing ‘gradient’ or ‘slope’, so when I am doing my lesson plan, I make sure I incorporate all of those.

And as Amy notes, spontaneity could occur by “using throwaway lines that give teaching credibility” and generally “ being able to find the most relevant thing that will be helpful in teaching the students.”

Similarly, Matthew having worked in a range of diverse roles in the marketing field reported.

if you are telling students that I am delivering the content to you through teaching you and assisting you with these skills and these skills will be relevant whether you leave at the end of year 10 to go and be an apprentice builder or ...what about if you start your own business, down the track, you need to know how to do a quote, advertising, marketing or whether you go on to tertiary education or further education.

In the above descriptions by Amy, Tasfia and Matthew, we can notice a recurrent theme of contextualization, used by teachers as a way of connecting their prior knowledge. Context was a “means” or tool that teachers used to apply or adapt their past knowledge in current teaching practices—such an approach could also be thought as either a personal characteristic or resource (“self” or “strategy” under Schlossberg’s transition theory) used to manage or navigate their transition process. Matthew had specific skills in marketing/sales, Tasfia and Amy had applied mathematical knowledge, and Jim had engineering and construction knowledge. They were each able to contextualize their experiences in their current role, and this framing enabled them to ease into teaching.

We are limited in engaging with this concept further due to the sparsity of the recent literature in career changers’ adaptation or transfer of their earlier competencies into teaching practices, particularly in the context of school curriculum. The few studies that exist explore this concept in the context of career change teachers who come from STEM fields. We suspect this is because of the characteristics of STEM content and subjects that acts as an enabler to seamlessly traverse from field science to classroom science to examine the connections made (e.g., Chambers, 2002 ; Grier & Johnston, 2009 , 2012 ; Powell, 1997 ). However, we provide a brief snapshot of previous studies here, primarily to highlight the similarities between our own research and other studies. Footnote 1

Studies on career change teachers indicate they have a clear willingness to pass on knowledge and experience acquired in their earlier professions (for instance, Chambers, 2002 ; Marinell, 2008 ). Tigchelaar et al. note that career change teachers’ conceptions about teaching and learning are influenced by their earlier experiences ( 2014 ). Even though individuals may differ widely in how prior experiences manifest themselves, certain common characteristics found primarily in career changers, for example, their intrinsic choices and attributes to do with passion and commitment, enhance their motivation to pass on knowledge to their students. However, conceptions, especially during the transition phase, are multifaceted ranging in a continuum from content-oriented/teacher-centered to learning-oriented/student-centered (Tigchelaar et al., 2014 , p. 118). We can recall that something similar was noted by Amy in Chap.  4 , as her thinking shifted over a course of time, moving from self-focus to student focus.

In an earlier study, Chambers found that because teachers felt proficient in the content area, in solving instructional problems, in curriculum design and generally in their approach to the task of teaching, participants took efforts to help students to apply and understand the real-world applications of the subject at hand ( 2002 ). Similarly, Marinell’s study on second-career science and mathematics teachers also revealed participants’ use of real-world examples from their previous experiences to help students connect with subject content ( 2008 ). Real-world examples were also used by career change teachers in Grier and Johnston’s study where they demonstrated an “authentic caring for their students and student learning that was manifested in two ways: viewing student learning as their responsibility and through making content connections in their lesson plans and teaching by using real-world examples” ( 2009 , p. 71). While some examples and activities were taken from their prior career, teachers used lesson activities found on the Internet that “required students to see the connections between science and math in the classroom and real-life experiences” ( 2009 , p. 71). Such sentiments to make content relevant for students’ future were echoed by Matthew, too, one of the teacher participants in Varadharajan’s ( 2014 ) study. Matthew saw care and flexibility as being central to his teaching philosophy, so students “ know that you care about them, not just care about their content…and flexibility of both approach to the students and also to the syllabus and to the curriculum.” Students needed to see the different ways he cared for them including creating lesson plans that enable them to see the connection between the subject being taught and its many applications in everyday life.

Because science and mathematics with their numerical concepts, experiments and laboratory work lend themselves more easily to making the theory–practice connection effective, we suspect that career change science and mathematics teachers can find ways to readily adapt or link their knowledge to curriculum and vice versa, which is why there seems to exist more literature in this area. STEM career change teachers’ ability to link prior knowledge with school content and curriculum can be considered a specific strategy (under Schlossberg’s transition theory) they desired to use in their teaching practices and as a mechanism to navigate the transition.

3.2 Connecting Prior Skills

Career changers also bring a whole range of diverse and important employability skills considered essential for the workforce, including problem-solving and time management skills (Hunter-Johnson, 2015 ), communication and multitasking skills with a strong work ethic (Grier & Johnston, 2009 ), “occupation-specific” technology skills (Rowston et al., 2020 ) and autonomy and teamwork (Tigchelaar et al., 2008 ). Furthermore, career changers are characterized by qualities of maturity and confidence and other life skills that may allow them to adjust more easily to the demands of the teaching profession (Lee, 2011 ; Varadharajan, 2014 ; Varadharajan et al., 2020 ). In an earlier study of alternative teacher certification candidates, participants believed that “their experiences from previous careers such as practical real-world knowledge, effective interpersonal and organizational skills will positively influence their performance as teachers” (Salyer, 2003 , p. 24). Through their prior work experiences, career change teachers would have had the opportunity to develop interpersonal skills and to learn flexibility and responsiveness to change. They may also feel they bring to the “classroom expert knowledge and patterns of thinking acquired in their first career and skills” in how to approach the task of teaching (Chambers, 2002 , p. 215), contributing to being “agents for long term positive change within schools” (Trent, 2018 , p. 944). Matthew believed his experiences gathered prior to school—including his interactions with people at his prior workplace—made it possible for him to be “confident, flexible, creative” in his teaching approach but also enabled him to “set my approach to the kind of teacher I would want to be” (as quoted in Varadharajan, 2014 ). In this sense, Matthew’s identity construction is underpinned by his efforts to align his teaching practices with his beliefs and values.

Having worked elsewhere, career change teachers recognize how important it is for students to possess workplace skills to be able to succeed in career and life. Matthew emphasized employability and workforce learning skills to his students after coming across colleagues in his previous career in the marketing field who lacked effective written and communication skills. According to Matthew, these conversations arose spontaneously during the course of classroom teaching and discussions, further indicating career change teachers’ capacity and intention to help build students’ skills in these important areas (Varadharajan, 2014 ).

Similarly, when Amy spoke of her high expectations from her students and the kind of “standard” she expected of them, it was about equipping them with skills they would need for later in life.

I expect them to set out their book correctly and if they don’t I expect them to correct it because this is the stuff you need in life to be able to organise yourself, date your pages, know where you are at, be able to get somewhere.

Life skills also come from being a parent and raising families, a characteristic likely to be visible among mature-age workers. Elizabeth, another teacher participant, was a parent to teenage children and described the advantages of being able to relate to teenage students and utilizing some of her parenting experiences to instill a love of learning in them.

I felt, (having teenage children) gave me a bit of an advantage. You know that I am quite used to talking to teenage children. I was able to keep in touch more with stuff that interested them, I knew what episode of the Simpsons they referred to illustrate some particular point or I knew what....talking about working out the frequency of a radio station, I knew what radio station they were likely to be interested in.....just minor things like that, I suppose just that bit of familiarity with the things they talk about, the things they are interested in.

A range of diverse skills that career change teachers bring from different contexts may also result in stronger appreciation of the profession, while having a “profound impact on themselves, their colleagues and students” (Lee, 2011 , p. 2).

However, prior knowledge and skills may not necessarily be the best weapon in all situations and may impact negatively in the new career. A whole set of complex factors influence the success or failure of connecting past knowledge with current career—individuals’ own perceptions of their skill and knowledge level and capacity to connect; type of teacher training programs they were part of; and needs and context of students and school circumstances are just some which we discuss below.

4 To What Extent Are Career Change Teachers able to Make Connections Between Past and Present

While the literature emphasizes the positive aspects of what mature-age entrants bring to teaching, studies have raised questions about the extent to which connections between past knowledge and current needs can be made. Being an expert in one profession does not necessarily make one a good teacher, and transferring competencies to teaching is neither an automatic nor smooth process (Eifler & Potthoff, 1998 ; Tigchelaar et al., 2008 ), with differences between transferability and specificity acquired through “doing” teaching (Trent, 2018 ). Moreover, having been away from schools and the education system for some time, career change teachers, especially at the beginning of their career, might struggle with many elements that are part of their new career, in turn impacting their new identity construction as teacher.

As Jim put it, the classroom presented:

a whole different spectrum of behaviour management, task management … and the pedagogy and teaching [students] how to do things, getting the message across, even communicating with them. It was completely different … I thought [communicating with students] would be similar to an adult. Obviously, it is very different … and it takes a long time to really be able to manage that space really well.

As we have emphasized in this book in various chapters, career changers have the competence and strategies to adjust well to school demands. We also know that prior skills are highly relevant to the classroom and many career changers are keen on adopting methodologies that are student-centered that help to make the connections (Chambers, 2002 ; Haim & Amdur, 2016 ; Priyadharshini & Robinson-Pant, 2003 ). However, connecting prior knowledge to the classroom is a different kind of skill—that which is familiar to career changers (prior knowledge) transposed into a new surrounding (the classroom). To connect these two things can pose significant challenges for career change teachers, and its success depends on several factors, including individual teacher characteristics, stage of transition/teaching, support they receive and the necessity of the skills in the classroom context.

We try to unpack some of the issues here.

Firstly, studies question the transferability of career change teachers’ competencies to the school setup (Eifler & Potthoff, 1998 ; Grier & Johnston, 2012 ). Even though many teachers possess significant expertise in a specific content area being taught, they may not easily be able to connect or transform their extensive work experience and non-textbook-oriented practices to create and implement conceptually rich and meaningful teaching practices in conventional school settings (Powell, 1997 ). Having content expertise or subject matter knowledge does not mean teachers are equally equipped with competent teaching skills or skills to identify or pinpoint the connection between their previous experiences in a content area and optimal ways “to teach” that topic (Trent, 2018 ). Career change teachers can struggle to be competent in pedagogical skills (how to teach the content and concepts) because they have been out of touch from education for a longer period than other new teaching entrants (Varadharajan et al., 2020 ). Besides, knowledge transferability or ability to see the connection from one context to another is a discrete skill that needs to be taught. If career changers do not have the opportunity to learn or receive training in this process, they may struggle with transferring their competencies in ways suited to students (Baeten & Meeus, 2016 ; Eifler & Potthoff, 1998 ; Grier & Johnston, 2012 ). Career changers would also have to rely on being given suitable opportunities to implement conceptually rich teaching practices or be able to create enabling conditions for those practices to occur—something that might not be readily possible in traditional school settings.

Secondly, even in cases when the subject area being taught is similar to one’s previous career or role, for example, an accountant teaching mathematics, and the connections may seem obvious, it may still not always be possible to generate suitable or relevant theory–practice connections or give appropriate examples from previous life to share with students, in a manner that students can comprehend (Halladay, 2008 ). In Grier and Johnston’s study on career change science teachers, having a previous STEM career with relevant qualifications and experience did not necessarily translate to being a successful science teacher who could create engaging science lessons for students ( 2012 , p. 42).

Thirdly, in the transition process, particularly during the early days, teachers might focus on the skills needed for a new teacher (as with all new teachers), rather than thinking about ways on how to connect their prior knowledge in the classroom. Classroom teaching practices consist of several components and learning a whole new set of skills—curriculum familiarity, content mastery, lesson preparation and planning, classroom management, pedagogic competence, testing skills to name a few. This thinking may lead to some teachers parking or putting aside their prior knowledge, relying solely on their teacher preparation training to succeed in their current school contexts and teaching practices. Conversely, some career changers can resist learning new skills, believing their previous experience will stand them in good stead to perform the job of teaching (Haim & Amdur, 2016 ). Either way, the connection between past competency and current applicability is unlikely to be the focus for the new career change teacher entrant.

4.1 Entrenched Views and Impact on Teaching Practices and on Connections

We further elaborate on the last point since having entrenched views or resisting learning new skills can impact both career changers’ current teaching practices and impede making successful connections between past and present experiences, thus neutralizing the advantage of utilizing career changers’ prior skills. Career changers’ own conceptions and beliefs about teaching and teaching methods can impact on their ability to share their past skills with students in the classroom. Teachers’ beliefs are influenced by their past experiences, for instance, their own schooling, and this then shapes their teaching beliefs about whether they should adopt a student-centered/knowledge construction focus or teacher-centered/knowledge transmission focus and so on (Tigchelaar et al., 2014 ). If they have not had recent exposure to current educational practices and lack understanding about the evolving roles of teachers, there could be a tendency to harbor outdated views on students, student learning, how teaching and learning should occur and more broadly on the role and contribution of schools and education to our society. It is easy for career changers and any teachers to regress to “teaching the way they were taught” (Oleson & Hora, 2014 , p. 29).

Preexisting beliefs and conceptions and any deficiencies that arise can act as deterrents, impacting upon career changers’ current teaching practices and in their development. Jenne suggests that far from being agents of change in schools, career change teachers may hold “well-entrenched and rigid” educational perspectives and perceptions that were acquired during their first career and from other life experiences (Jenne, 1996 , p. 6). Having formed firm views and beliefs on teaching and learning, some career changers may be unwilling to adapt to their new situation. Even though Jenne’s study examined the perspectives of some career change teachers in a rather limiting way by focusing on the experiences of ex-military personnel in the subject area of social studies, she raises questions about the flexibility and willingness of this group of teachers in knowledge construction. Jenne questions the nature of career changers and whether they are a conservative and traditional force, who prefer to “leave things as they ought to be” or are agents of change and transformation (1996, p. 22).

Entrenched views can arise if some career changers fail to learn to adapt to new ways of teaching or learn to upskill because they have been successful elsewhere and think they have enough knowledge already . In other words, having a false sense of confidence can hamper their use of existing knowledge to connect in productive ways with students. Because of their experience and knowledge outside school settings, career changers might see other teachers in a “less experienced” light and form views on teachers’ capabilities that could be seen as prejudicial or condescending. Career changers want to be seen as different from other cohorts—viewing themselves and/or others as less/more knowledgeable might be one strategy they adopt to satisfy this purpose. Varadharajan found that Matthew quoted several instances to show career change teachers were far more likely to be an “effective” teacher than “traditional” teachers who have been in classrooms for a long period of time, showing tendencies of self-interest rather than student interest ( 2014 ). It must be noted that Matthew took care to indicate this was not a generalization by any means, acknowledging that every teacher is different having unique strengths and capabilities. The point being made, however, is career change teachers can have preconceived views about other non-career change teachers, in some ways overstating their own experiences and abilities.

More recent studies point to the paradoxical double-edged sword situation that exists among career change teachers (Haim & Amdur, 2016 ) and career change pre-service teachers (Varadharajan et al., 2018 ), partly emerging from their adjustment processes during career change and partly caused by external forces. Trent notes the positioning of career change teachers within dominant discourses of “traditional” and “conventional” teachers as well as participants’ self-positioning in practice as “innovative” and “risk-taking” teachers can cause tensions to teachers’ personal and professional identity ( 2018 ). The clash between “what I believe in” and “what the school wants” can be painful, causing antagonistic relations between different identity positions (Trent, 2018 ). Discourses and self-positioning can play a prominent role among career changers because they are likely to come into teaching with well-formed beliefs and ideas drawn from their previous lives or careers. The challenge is how each teacher deals with those ideas or beliefs.

In Varadharajan et al.’ s study, one half of over 500 participating career change pre-service teachers perceived their student learning needs to be different from those of other pre-service teachers and the other half considered their learning needs to be the same as any other new teacher, desiring to acquire new knowledge in their new career (Varadharajan et al., 2018 ). The former group were looking for teacher education programs tailored to their needs, something which was lacking among many providers. In the same study, some career change pre-service teachers desired to be recognized for their “differences” or their expertise and knowledge, yet, paradoxically, others did not explicitly state they wanted to be recognized and perceived themselves the same as the rest of the new pre-service teachers ( 2018 ). Participants in the former category were disappointed at not having their former skills and qualifications acknowledged or accounted for in their studies, but questions remain as to whether they may bring with them a sense of entitlement because of being “older and experienced” and consequently carry with them stubbornness and resistance (to the point of being seen as arrogant) to new learnings and adaptations ( 2018 ). Career changers’ own conceptions combined with tensions and barriers that exist in education systems can be a double-edged sword in their paths to flourishment in the profession. We note here that resistance to learning is an undesirable trait in any teacher, and that any older teacher, career changer or not, might be prone to this. Moreover, it makes sense for an educational jurisdiction to recognize and capitalize on prior learning in any teacher, as they should in any student.

The way in which career change teachers conceptualize their competencies matters. Tigchelaar et al. note that when earlier experiences/competencies are conceived or conceptualized as “sources of knowledge,” then competencies tend to be defined in terms of in deficit terms which needs to be addressed in alternative certification programs or formal training mechanisms ( 2014 , p. 119). However, when career changers conceptualize their earlier experiences as personal qualities that they possess, such competencies are then viewed as strengths, which could be “enriched by theory and by mutually sharing expertise” ( 2014 , p. 119). Career changers’ perceptions on how they conceptualize their competencies, whether it be sources of knowledge or personal qualities or in some other way, determine whether they can act as impediments or successes. Contrary to Jenne’s research, flexibility and adaptability to transition emerged as strong characteristics in the recent literature (for instance, (Varadharajan et al., 2020 ). Teachers see themselves as wanting to adopt alternative pedagogies and be agents of change in educational reform (Tigchelaar et al., 2008 ). However, teachers should also have realistic conceptions about teaching and learning and the necessary pedagogical or other support to prevent them from reverting to practices from their own school experiences that are not conducive to student learning (Haim & Amdur, 2016 ). Some of these discussions lead us to question whether career change individuals who enter teaching are being given too much credit for what they are “deemed” to possess and, at the same time, are too much assumed or expected of them as teachers.

Returning to Schlossberg’s transition theory ( 1981 ) and the 4 S’s of situation, self, support and strategy, we conclude that all four elements have a role to play as we examine career change teachers’ teaching practices. The elements help us in understanding the extent of connections that are possible (or not) between career changers’ past knowledge and skills within their current context and the extent to which teachers are successful in career transition and construct successful teacher identities. Career changers themselves may see building connections between their past experiences and present context as a sense of trajectory or pathway for themselves, in their journey of change from one community to another (Grier & Johnston, 2012 ). Teachers’ conceptions and formation of assumptions about teaching and education systems, their preexisting beliefs that they bring to the profession, and openness or resistance to learning are all elements that speak to their self and situational context. The lack of formal or informal institutional support to combat these various internal and external struggles can add to the challenges they face with career transition.

5 Final Observations

This chapter has set out examples of ways in which teachers drew on their prior skills and experience in respect to subject matter expertise and other skills once they became classroom teachers. Teachers brought their knowledge and experiences from their prior career, from their specialty degree (particularly when they moved into teaching the same subject in which originally qualified) or from past experiences and knowledge gathered from schools where they may have taught earlier such as when they were pre-service teaching. Connections with past skills occurred either through real-life examples (to explain concepts that they are currently teaching) from their previous job or degree qualification or by drawing upon their general experience and what they felt was important for students to know after leaving school. Even if their previous job did not directly relate to their teaching content, teachers were still keen to share the “outside world” or “real-world” perspective with their students (Varadharajan, 2014 ).

The context of time is an important point to make when we think about connections made by career changers and how much of this occurs when teachers transition from their previous career. We anticipate that what has been discussed in this chapter, including the examination of theories around transition, is more applicable for teachers during the early transition phase and beginning of their teaching careers. In the first few years, career changers are more likely to examine, consider and work through the various ways of sharing their skills and knowledge with students where this is possible. No doubt, a combination of previous experience and teacher preparation program skills will influence their teaching and pedagogical approach and as teacher identities are constructed (Trent, 2018 ).

As Tigchelaar et al. note, teachers’ beliefs and conceptions (indeed for all teachers), shaped by their earlier experiences, range through a continuum from content-oriented to learning-centered ( 2014 ). For some career changers, while they utilize their prior knowledge and share their expertise with students, their approach, especially at the beginning, could be more teacher-directed learning, presumably due to their own earlier experiences in schools. As time evolves and teachers have been in classrooms for a longer period immersed in current practices, while they are likely to draw less and less on their prior experiences, particularly specific content knowledge from prior roles, they could be more open to student-centered learning. It is important to note that this line of argument may not be true for all career changers, even during transition or at the early teaching phases.

What is more likely to be shared consistently over time, and likely to have a greater impact with students, are career changers’ life experiences, organizational skills, personal qualities and workplace and employability skills such as communication, autonomy in problem-solving and professionalism, as well as aspirational skills of thinking beyond school. They have a stock of existing “ready-made” internal resources, in the form of experiences and attributes acquired from previous work, education, relationships and other life experiences which have become a part of their personality and way of life. Hence, these are the types of skills they are likely to transfer or share with their students which are likely to have a long-lasting beneficial impact on students’ lives.

Making connections between past skills and current context requires guidance, direction and specific strategies that career changers can “apply” in ways that are pedagogically suitable and beneficial to students. Significant gains could be made in addressing how competencies could be transferred in specific ways (Tigchelaar et al., 2008 ). If teacher training processes and methods, both pre- and in-service, do not take into account their background or their diverse skills, and insufficient opportunity exists to help them learn how to translate their prior knowledge to schools, career changers may quickly become frustrated (Varadharajan et al., 2020 ). While research indicates a paradoxical situation with career changers, they need, as do all teachers, support and encouragement from schools and education providers to identify and hone their skills to unleash their best selves. This process should come naturally to learning places such as schools. As Haim and Amdur point out, “In order for them to translate these skills to the classroom and use them effectively, they need to be shown that the skills are relevant and be able to adapt them to the context of the classroom…through the provision of frequent contact with mentor teachers and pedagogical advisors to develop professional skills and transfer competencies” ( 2016 , p. 364). Teacher training programs may also need to consider the relationship between theoretical and practical aspects and how these can be contextualized based on teachers’ prior skills through guidance from experts and peer agents (Haim & Amdur, 2016 ), perhaps from other career change teachers. Opportunities should be provided for teachers to reflect on their conceptions of teaching and learning (Tigchelaar et al., 2014 ). Career change teachers can be offered training and support strategies to transfer their competencies effectively and efficiently (Keck Frei et al., 2021 ). These support mechanisms add to the knowledge of factors that facilitate the career transition process, including informing the recruitment and retention of career changers in the profession.

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Varadharajan, M., Buchanan, J. (2021). The Teaching Practices of Career Change Teachers: What Works and What Doesn’t Work?. In: Career Change Teachers. Springer, Singapore. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-981-16-6038-2_6

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Office of Governor Gavin Newsom

More Jobs, Better Careers: California Distributes $72.5 Million to Create Regional Education-to-Career Pipelines

Published: Nov 02, 2023

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:  California is awarding $72.5 million to four regions across California to provide students with more job and career opportunities in their local communities, improving access to higher education and workforce opportunities.

SACRAMENTO – As part of California’s effort to improve access to high-paying and fulfilling careers for students and workers, today Governor Gavin Newsom announced the state has awarded four final awards – totaling $72.5 million – for the Regional K-16 Education Collaboratives Grant Program as part of a $250 million investment in the 2021 Budget Act. This program is a key component of a statewide strategy for strengthening regional economies, improving education-to-career pathways, and ensuring that education, vocational, and workforce programs work in partnership to provide broader access to education and employment opportunities. The funds were awarded by the Department of General Services (DGS), Office of Public School Construction, and the Foundation for California Community Colleges.

WHAT GOVERNOR NEWSOM SAID: “Every Californian should have the freedom to succeed by obtaining real-life skills and fulfilling careers — including those that don’t require college degrees. With today’s investment, California is yet again going further to prepare students and workers for high-paying, long-lasting, and fulfilling careers.”

“The Department of General Services is proud to play a vital role in administering this much-needed program that ensures equitable pathways to meaningful careers and employment for all Californians,” said DGS Director Ana M. Lasso . “As the program expands throughout all state regions, DGS is excited to see this valuable model for successfully bridging disparities in California communities.”

As communities across the state work to transform California’s public education system from cradle to career – scaling universal transitional kindergarten, expanding after-school programs, improving college access and affordability, and more – the regional collaboratives being funded by the state are marshaling action and promoting implementation. Along with priorities such as California Jobs First, formerly known as the Community Economic Resilience Fund (CERF) and Cradle-to-Career Data System, California is building partnerships and structures for translating policies into on-the-ground improvements for students and workers.

Today’s $72.5 million in awards — four awards of approximately $18.1 million each — will be going to the following collaboratives :

Bay Area : Bay Area K-16 Collaborative (Chabot – Las Positas Community College District)

The Bay Area K-16 Collaborative is coalescing regional networks and industry around equity pathways in: Education, Engineering/Computing, and Healthcare/Biotechnology. Three subregions, anchored by California State University campuses and local partners, drive pathway innovation in the East Bay, San Francisco/Peninsula, and San José regions. The partners will remove barriers to degree completion, accelerate transfer success, increase equitable participation in early college credit, and expand work-based learning.

Northern San Joaquin Valley: WE Will! The Northern San Joaquin Valley K-16 Regional Partnership – A Collaboration of Merced, San Joaquin and Stanislaus Counties (The Regents of the University of California, Merced)

Through current regional assets, WE Will! Tri-county collaborative aims to strengthen education and workforce partnerships and streamline pathways from high school to postsecondary into the workforce to provide high-quality talent in high-demand industry sectors. The 12-month California Regional K-16 Education Collaboratives Planning Grant focus has been promoting pathway equity and access while reducing barriers for all students and job seekers.

Central Coast: Central Coast K-16 Regional Collaborative: Advancing Student Opportunities for Upward Mobility (The Regents of the University of California, Santa Cruz)

The Central Coast K-16 Education Collaborative funding is to support a robust, data-informed, equity-centered implementation year. During the implementation phase, the Collaborative will engage partners across the region to make a transformative, equity-centered, systemic change that will address longstanding systemic educational inequities and structural barriers along the education-to-employment pathways leading to high-skill, high-wage, high-demand regional employment across the region.

Eastern Sierra: Sierra K-16 Collaborative: Workforce Ready, Future Engaged (Columbia College – Yosemite Community College District)

The K16 Phase 2 grant award will ensure the Sierra K-16 Collaborative Partnership builds sustainable, intersegmental collaboration for achieving the overarching goal of improving regional opportunities for students to be highly qualified to fill job vacancies and earn a living wage in the Computing/ Engineering, Education, and Healthcare industry sectors.

The Regional K-16 Education Collaboratives Grant Program provides funding to enhance or create collaborative efforts between the University of California system, the California State University system, Community Colleges, K-12 School Districts, and workforce partners. Collaboratives must also commit to implementing four of seven recommendations pulled from the Recovery with Equity report to promote student success.  The program has awarded one grant within each of the 13  California Jobs First regions with a goal of completing implementation by June 30, 2026.

HOW WE GOT HERE: California is preparing for shifts in the labor market and investing billions of dollars in career pathways initiatives to address key areas of need — worker shortages in the health and care economy, expanding construction careers to meet gaps, removing barriers to employment for diverse communities, developing the educator workforce, and removing silos and increasing connection between education systems and the workforce.  Governor Newsom’s Family Agenda is transforming public education to prepare students for the future and address this unmet need in the labor market and changes to the economy. As part of the Governor’s efforts to ensure students have the “freedom to succeed,” the state has invested billions of dollars to help students learn real-life career-ready skills.

Business Wire

Savron has over 23 years of experience in higher education in a variety of settings and serves as Vice Provost overseeing the strategy for University of Phoenix academic programs and curriculum design, institutional assessment and faculty, including oversight of strategy for degree, certificate and course offerings, design of curriculum and student learning outcomes for the University. Savron serves on several boards including Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce, Career Connectors, and the advisory council for UPCEA and AACRAO’s new 2023 Convergence conference focused on the emerging field of alternative credentials in Higher Education. She is a frequent speaker at higher education events with expertise on mapping relevant skills in programs and building an infrastructure to support career tools in curriculum design, micro credentialing and other innovations in curriculum. Savron earned her MBA from Cleveland State University and is completing her doctorate in management in organizational leadership.

The full whitepaper is available at and as a direct link here .

About University of Phoenix

University of Phoenix innovates to help working adults enhance their careers and develop skills in a rapidly changing world. Flexible schedules, relevant courses, interactive learning, skills-mapped curriculum for our bachelor’s and master’s degree programs and a Career Services for Life® commitment help students more effectively pursue career and personal aspirations while balancing their busy lives. For more information, visit phoenix.edu .

Sharla Hooper University of Phoenix [email protected]

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Wisconsin politicians have specific goals for careers-focused education. What are they?

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To fill high-demand jobs, Wisconsin state leadership wants to significantly increase the number of K-12 schools that incorporate careers-focused programs into students' education.

Specific plans for doing so are outlined in a 2022-26 strategic plan by the Governor's Council on Workforce Investment. Its goal is to find ways to fill jobs, recognizing that economists project Wisconsin will be without enough workers to fill holes left by baby boomers aging out of the workforce.

Expanding K-12 programs is one way to address those workforce shortages, according to the council's report. The push is for school districts to expand programs that give students on-the-job learning experience, or a head start on filling jobs with industry credentials or free college credit.

The goals are big — like doubling the use of some careers-focused K-12 programs — and include specific numeric targets. The strategic plan reiterates that the demographics of students in those programs should reflect the population of Wisconsin high schoolers.

Here's a list of those main goals and what they mean:

More: After questions about use of state funds, budget for Wisconsin Fast Forward workforce development program cut by 16%

Double the number of students who complete a 'work-based learning' program, like an internship or youth apprenticeship

Among the goals in the statewide plan is to nearly double the number of high school students who participate in "work-based learning" before graduation.

That could include a youth apprenticeship, internship or other experience that involves "sustained interactions, either paid or unpaid, with industry or community professionals," according to federal standards.

Specifically, the 2022-26 strategic plan's goal is for 7% of Wisconsin high school students to have participated in work-based learning before graduation.

The state tracks data on the percentage of students in a particular school or district who participate in work-based learning. The statewide average was 2.8% in 2020-21, the most recently available data year on the school and district report card website.

More: These Wisconsin schools say tech education is about breaking stereotypes, preventing debt

2 in 5 high schools should provide access to a career pathway that leads to a high-demand local job

Another goal is for 40% of high schools to use a "regional career pathway" model, or pre-set courses and experiences — like high school classes, dual credit programs or apprenticeships — that make it easier for students to find a job in particular industry that needs workers locally.

There are several career sectors identified by the state as needing workers: agriculture, food and natural resources; architecture and construction; business administration; education and training; energy; health care; hospitality, culinary and tourism; information technology; and manufacturing.

Wisconsin is broken into seven regions defined by the Department of Public Instruction . Each region is aligned with particular career sectors based on local workforce needs. Schools within each geographic region are encouraged to implement related academic programs, or pathways.

For example, the Milwaukee region has six regional career pathways: advanced manufacturing, business administration finance, construction, digital technology, education and training and patient care.

School districts in the Milwaukee area choose which of those career pathways to create programs in, if any.

Milwaukee Public Schools has implemented regional career pathways in advanced manufacturing, construction and finance. The Waukesha School District has the same pathways, plus those in digital technology and patient care. Other districts in the Milwaukee region, like Pewaukee and Shorewood, haven't implemented any career pathways.

More: Wisconsin will pay full tuition for people with disabilities who choose high-demand careers

Double the number of high schoolers who earn 'industry-recognized credentials'

An "industry credential" refers to any certification that is recognized by an industry, like health care or business. For example, students could earn a certified nurse aide license or become certified in Intuit QuickBooks while still in high school.

The specific goal is for 9% of high school students to earn an "industry-recognized credential," or about double the current number.

School districts are incentivized to do so by a state grant program that pays up to $1,000 for every student who earns from a specific list of industry certifications. The program is already widely used in the state, paying out $25.9 million to school districts in the 2020-23 fiscal years.

Increase the percentage of high school students taking college-level classes to 30%

Dual-enrollment programs that lead to college credit for high school students are expanding in Wisconsin. The council's goal is for about one in three students, or 30% to have that opportunity.

A recent report from the Wisconsin Policy Forum found one in four students , or about 25%, took a dual credit class from a public university or technical college in 2021-22.

What is the Council on Workforce Investment?

Like other states, Wisconsin is required to operate a council on workforce investment under a 2014 federal law called the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, or WOIA .

Strategies outlined in the state's strategic plan, including those focused on K-12 education, "were developed to face the current economic conditions of the state and address the significant challenges expressed by Wisconsin employers."

Those business-focused concerns come from representatives from various industries on the council itself, plus surveys conducted with the Department of Workforce Development and University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh.

"The results indicated that — regardless of past, present, or future — the most significant needs cited by employers were access not only to skilled workers but available workers in general. These responses reaffirm that the demand for workers pre-dates the pandemic and is a continued need to be addressed moving forward," the strategic plan reads.

Wisconsin's council includes several state government officials: Gov. Tony Evers; Amy Pechacek, secretary-designee of the Department of Workforce Development; and Emilie Amundson, secretary of the Department of Children and Families.

Morna Foy, president of the Wisconsin Technical College System, also sits on the council alongside several other representatives from K-12 schools, colleges and universities, and Wisconsin businesses and industries.

Cleo Krejci covers higher education, vocational training and retraining as a Report For America corps member based at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Contact her at [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter @_CleoKrejci. Support her work with a tax-deductible donation at  bit.ly/RFADonation .

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Career Essay Examples

Career essay topics and outline examples, essay title 1: navigating your career path: strategies for successful career planning and development.

Thesis Statement: This essay explores effective strategies for career planning and development, emphasizing self-assessment, goal setting, skill development, networking, and adaptability as key components.

  • Introduction
  • Self-Assessment: Identifying Interests, Strengths, and Values
  • Goal Setting: Defining Short-Term and Long-Term Career Objectives
  • Skill Development: Continuous Learning and Skill Enhancement
  • Networking: Building Professional Relationships and Leveraging Connections
  • Adaptability: Navigating Career Changes and Challenges
  • Mentorship and Guidance: Seeking Career Advice and Support
  • Conclusion: Empowering Individuals to Shape Their Career Paths

Essay Title 2: The Future of Work: Exploring Career Trends in the Digital Age and Preparing for Industry Disruptions

Thesis Statement: This essay examines emerging career trends in the digital age, including automation, remote work, and gig economy jobs, and discusses strategies for preparing for industry disruptions.

  • Digital Transformation: Impact on Traditional Careers and Industries
  • Automation and Artificial Intelligence: Job Displacement and Upskilling
  • Remote Work: Advantages, Challenges, and Future Workforce Trends
  • Gig Economy and Freelancing: The Rise of Independent Career Paths
  • Reskilling and Lifelong Learning: Staying Relevant in a Changing Job Market
  • Adapting to Uncertainty: Developing a Flexible Career Mindset
  • Conclusion: Preparing for the Shifting Landscape of Work and Employment

Essay Title 3: Balancing Work and Life: The Importance of Career Satisfaction, Well-Being, and Achieving a Fulfilling Life

Thesis Statement: This essay discusses the significance of achieving career satisfaction and work-life balance, highlighting their impact on overall well-being and the pursuit of a fulfilling life.

  • Career Satisfaction: Defining Fulfillment in Professional Life
  • Work-Life Balance: Strategies for Managing Workload and Personal Life
  • Mental Health and Stress Management: Coping with Career-Related Challenges
  • Family and Relationships: Nurturing Personal Connections Amid Career Demands
  • Passion and Purpose: Aligning Career Goals with Personal Values
  • Life Goals and Achievements: Pursuing a Fulfilling and Meaningful Life
  • Conclusion: Striving for Career Success while Embracing Life's Joys and Challenges

Careers in Science: Food Technologist

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research paper on teaching career

Why Calculus Remains a Math Flash Point

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Corrected : This story has been updated to reflect Ralph Pantozzi’s full statement. Corrected : A previous version of this story misstated the location of Kent Place School. It is located in Summit, N.J.

Calculus has long been one of the most-debated flash points in high school math.

The course is commonly seen as the pinnacle of the high school progression, a clear signal to college admissions counselors that graduates are ready for postsecondary study. But many in the K-12 field question whether it’s really the best mathematical preparation for all students.

And the course is plagued by inequities— data from the U.S. Department of Education’s office of civil rights has shown that Black and Latino students have less access to calculus in their schools than their white and Asian peers. Some high schools don’t even offer the class.

How to design calculus courses, and who exactly should take them, was the focus of a panel on the subject at the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics Annual Meeting here last week.

“The math education community has been thinking and asking questions about the learning and teaching of calculus for many decades,” said Ralph Pantozzi, a math teacher at Kent Place School in Summit, N.J. “Calculus for whom, and when? What should a calculus course look like and feel like?”

Pantozzi cited NCTM’s most recent position statement on the subject , released in June 2022. It says that calculus can provide important foundations for future studies, “particularly in mathematically intensive fields.”

But it also argues that calculus “should not be the singular end goal of the PK–12 mathematics curriculum at the expense of providing a broad spectrum of mathematical preparation.”

Some experts in the math education field have suggested that high schools offer alternative data science pathways , which could provide students with preparation in statistical analysis that could support them in a wide range of college majors and career fields.

A few states, including Ohio, Oregon, and Utah , have created high school math pathways that encourage students to take different advanced math courses, based on their career interests.

Still, these changes tend to be controversial, given the important role calculus plays in the college admissions process, and the urging from some in postsecondary math education that it is a necessary foundation for incoming college students who are interested in majoring in a STEM field.

Read on for three takeaways about the purposes calculus serves—and doesn’t serve—from the panelists’ conversation.

Calculus is still an important admissions factor for many colleges

Just Equations, a nonprofit that advocates for greater educational equity in math, surveyed college admissions counselors and high school counselors in 2021 and 2022. Of the 1,250 selective four-year colleges and universities Just Equations contacted, 137 responded: 58 percent private institutions and 42 percent public.

“What we learned is that they do indeed look at calculus as the gold standard in this business,” said Melodie Baker, the national policy director at Just Equations.

Eighty percent of admissions officers said that colleges place a priority on calculus, and 53 percent said that having taken calculus gives students an edge in the admissions process.

“While this is often practiced, it’s not an actual policy,” said Baker. Even though college admissions officers hold these beliefs, many colleges don’t explicitly state these preferences in their admissions materials or on their websites, she said.

This opacity in the process can disadvantage lower-income or first generation students, Baker said. “Students who come from wealthy backgrounds are more likely to know the role that calculus plays in college admissions,” she said.

In a separate 2023 survey of high school and college students, mostly in California, Just Equations found that 60 percent of students whose parents went to college agreed with the statement, “Students who take calculus are more likely to be admitted to elite or highly selective colleges.” Only 40 percent of students whose parents had not attended college said the same.

Not all students have access to the course

“What a lot of college admissions counselors do not know is that calculus is truly an issue with access,” said Baker. “Only 50 percent of the high schools in the country even offer calculus. And the ones that do have lower enrollment of Black and Latinx students.”

Data from the U.S. Department of Education’s office of civil rights show that highly segregated schools with majority Black or Latino enrollment are much less likely to offer calculus—only 38 percent of these schools offer the course.

Colleges champion calculus, but it’s unclear whether it’s necessary for all students

Even in states that have created alternative high school pathways, state guidance to students still recommends that those interested in STEM fields take calculus. But what about students who are interested in other disciplines? Do they need the subject too?

Joan Zoellner, the lead of the Launch Years Initiative at the University of Texas at Austin’s Charles A. Dana Center, shared data from the Research, Planning & Professional Development Group for California Community Colleges examining the performance of community college students in their first postsecondary math course .

All of these students were pursuing a business administration degree, and needed to pass a business calculus course to graduate.

Students who had previously taken a high school calculus course did well in business calculus—71 percent of them who took business calculus in their first year passed the class.

But many students who hadn’t taken calculus in high school succeeded in business calculus, too. Sixty-eight percent of students who had taken high school statistics and enrolled directly in college business calculus passed in their first year, as did 63 percent of students who had ended high school with precalculus.

“We don’t really know what the make or break skills, or habits of mind, are for [college] calculus,” said Zoellner.

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Department of Labor & Workforce Development

Nj department of labor and workforce development announces $3m pre-apprenticeship in career education (pace) grant, for immediate release.

November 6, 2023

TRENTON – The New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development (NJDOL) Office of Apprenticeship has announced $3 million in available funding through the Pre-Apprenticeship in Career Education (PACE) grant program, which supports the creation and expansion of pre-apprenticeship programs throughout the state.

The PACE program was developed primarily to promote equal opportunities, upward mobility, and economic fairness while helping to alleviate economic barriers that hinder upskilling. PACE programs provide tools such as job readiness, essential skills, and occupation-specific training, and funding that can be used to offset participants’ related costs, such as childcare, transportation, and the attainment of a high school equivalency diploma or GED.

“Apprenticeship allows people to take charge of their careers, build knowledge, and create contacts within their chosen field – and New Jersey has never had as many great apprenticeship options available, in such a diverse range of sectors, as there are right now,” said Labor Commissioner Robert Asaro-Angelo. “Pre-apprenticeship provides the first step for many to build their careers.”

PACE pre-apprenticeship programs must partner with at least one Registered Apprenticeship sponsor, and together they must expand career pathways with industry-based training and classroom instruction, leading to better-paying positions and advanced credentials. Applications will be evaluated on the strength of the career paths and partnerships proposed, the quality of programming proposed, and the lead applicant’s organizational capacity to implement the proposal. All applicants should demonstrate their ability to ensure participants are able to acquire measurable skill gains as verified through regular progress reports.

“The NJDOL PACE grant has played a pivotal role in empowering and expanding the pre-apprenticeship program and the traditional apprenticeship program at Eastern Atlantic States Carpenters Technical College. By providing crucial support to participants facing various barriers, this grant has not only contributed to their success but has also created a sustainable career pathway for them within the construction industry,” said PACE grant recipient David Iannucci, special projects coordinator, Eastern Atlantic States Carpenters Technical College.

Organizations funded through, or working in partnership with, the Growing Apprenticeships in Nontraditional Sectors (GAINS) program, are strongly encouraged to apply. The PACE program can provide a pipeline of candidates for Registered Apprenticeship programs funded through GAINS.

  • November 21 and November 30 , 1 pm: Virtual technical assistance (TA) workshops (pre-registration required at least one business day prior to workshop; applicants are strongly encouraged to attend). Register for November 21 here , or November 30 here .
  • December 8: Letter of Intent due by noon
  • December 15: Application due by noon

View complete details and the full Notice of Grant Opportunity here .

Find more information on the New Jersey Office of Apprenticeship here .

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