In our rapidly changing world, educators, architects, and business leaders are united in understanding that the traditional education model is no longer enough to prepare students for the challenges that lie ahead. In response, many school districts are engaging with businesses to empower students with the right skills and passion to succeed in the workforce.
Traditional career technical education, or “votech,” happened apart from the mainstream high school setting and was tailored to non-college-bound learners. With the emerging pedagogical trends in mainstream education toward real-world, skill-based, experiential learning, a curriculum that looks like traditional career tech is making its way into classrooms everywhere. For example, whereas robotics used to be just an after-school club, real-world robotics programming is a course available during the school day. In an effort to expand what it means to earn a high school diploma, these courses provide students with real-world credentials. This means students can finish a robotics programming course with a certificate, making them fully qualified for employment.
This micro-credentialing allows a high school diploma to be the ticket to the high-tech, high-quality, high-salary career it once was. Businesses like FANUC America, for example, have taken action to create their workforce by partnering with local K-12 School Districts to deliver credible, relevant curricula to students focused on advanced manufacturing and robotics. FANUC may need programmers for their robots, but our world also needs citizens who can collaborate with artificial intelligence and other technologies to guide us in this new frontier.
The currency of micro-credentialing is not limited to those students who choose to pursue a career after high school. Understanding this foundational knowledge of how to program robots used in most manufacturing sectors today can prepare those students looking to pursue degrees in everything from engineering to entrepreneurship. The more real-world, portable skills and experiences we can expose our kids to, the more fluent they will be in a rapidly evolving economy.