How the Education System Fails to Prepare Workers—and What Needs to Change

2020 has been anything but normal for students and teachers with the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. As many schools across the nation prepare to resume classes virtually, a new white paper from Express Employment Professionals explores why now is the perfect time to revolutionize the education system.

The new white paper dives deeper into a survey commissioned by Express in conjunction with The Harris Poll that revealed nearly 9 in 10 employees (87%) agree a whole new approach to education, skills training and learning–an “education revolution”–is needed to prepare people for the workforce. And of those employees, 40% “strongly agree” with that sentiment.

The key challenges survey respondents identified include:

  1. The gap between skills needed and skills taught
  2. The lack of work study or earn-and-learn opportunities
  3. The cost and utility of college and higher education

The rapid changes of this year only further revealed what was ultimately not working with the education system before the pandemic-when too many students entered the workforce unprepared for the jobs available to them. This unwanted disruption is a challenge but also an opportunity to refocus curriculum on what Americans say matters for their careers.

Regardless of whether government policy changes are made to address these concerns, it is critical for everyone-employers, educators, policymakers, students and more-to have a clearer understanding of employees’ relationship with and perspectives on the education system, as well as what each can do in response.

Other notable topics in the white paper include:

  • Confidence in preparation to handle aspects of work
  • Combining education and experience
  • Accessibility and affordability of college
  • Lifelong learning
  • Upskilling

“Historically, during difficult times is often when a society sees the most innovation. This pandemic has exposed which jobs are absolutely essential to the economy, and we need to make sure we are preparing students adequately for the workforce of today and tomorrow,” Express CEO Bill Stoller said. “Now is the time for an education revolution.”

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