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Career- and College-Ready: Did you know?

By Dr. Chris Duree, IVCCD Chancellor

As a parent, I believe most of us want our children to be successful throughout their lifetime. I have yet to meet a parent who says, “I want my child to fail in school and live a life of poverty.”

Parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, family friends and students … did you know that a recent publication by the Iowa College Student Aid Commission shared data revealing that of Iowa’s top 50 jobs projected to be in high demand and pay high salaries from now through 2020, 94 percent will require postsecondary education? Did you know that some of the most high-demand, high-paying positions are in the Science, Mathematics, Engineering and Technology (STEM) occupations, and they’re expected to experience an even higher job demand growth rate?

The same publication revealed some rather startling data suggesting many Iowa students who express interest in these high-growth fields fall short of meeting the ACT college readiness benchmarks in English, reading, mathematics and science, indicating they are not prepared to pursue these opportunities. Did you know the ACT is an achievement exam that is used throughout the country to gauge the skills considered to be most important for students to be successful in their first year of college? Approximately two out of every three 2013 high school graduates took the ACT. Only 32 percent of the high school graduating classes of 2013 who took the ACT met all four of the college readiness benchmarks in English, reading, mathematics and science. Slightly more than half met the benchmark for reading; 1 out of 2 met the benchmark for math; less than half met the benchmark for science; and, nearly 1 out of 5 did not meet any of the four college readiness benchmarks.

Students have a better chance to succeed in college and pursue their dreams of a career in their occupational field of choice if they have taken the time to align their education with their career interests. However, students cannot be unrealistic about the preparation required to be career- and college-ready and graduate from college without guided planning.

The Iowa College Student Aid Commission suggests “guided planning” means parents, students, school counselors and teachers working together to match the students’ interests, strengths and skills with their education and career opportunities. This process should start early, and it is critical to your child’s success!

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