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Preparing Youth for the 21st Century Labor Market

Preparing Youth for the 21st Century Labor Market

By Donna Weber, Project Management Institute Educational Foundation

Last month, I read an insightful blog entry by Betsy Brand, entitled Skills Needed for High Growth, High Wage Jobs, that appeared in Dr. Michael Kerst’s Stanford – The College Puzzle Blog. The entry focused on the skills students will need in seeking high growth, high wage jobs and noted that some of the skills needed by employers – coordination, social perceptiveness, decision making, negotiation and complex problem solving – are not often taught in conventional high school classrooms.

Ms. Brand notes: Learning many of these skills in the context of longer-term, interdisciplinary projects or as part of a career pathway or career and technical education program can give students time to test, try out, revise, and improve all sorts of skills and behaviors that take time to develop.

All of the skills mentioned are critical to the development of project management expertise. Expertise is important to the growing global demand for skilled employees in manufacturing, information technology, engineering, healthcare, aerospace/defense, construction, energy and finance (https://www.pmi.org/learning/PM-Network/2014/global-jobs-report.aspx).

As the charitable arm of the Project Management Institute (PMI®) – the world’s leading professional membership association for the project management profession – the Project Management Institute Educational Foundation (PMIEF) has been developing partnerships, professional development training for educators, and other no-cost educational resources to address this growing educational and labor market need.

To this end, over the last four years, PMIEF has led the development of the Project Learning Network (PLN). PLN is a collaboration among organizations that focus on the delivery of education through projects in schools and community programs, among them: National Academy Foundation, NapaLearns, Junior Achievement USA, George Lucas Foundation, Global SchoolNet, Center for Digital Inclusion, DiscoverE, Destination Imagination, Buck Institute for Education, Partnership for 21st Century Learning, and the Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE).

As a result of this relationship, DiscoverE and Destination Imagination have received grant funding from PMIEF to integrate project management education as the foundation of their annual student competitions. Additionally, PMIEF and ACTE have entered into a formal alliance to advance the national promotion of project management skills development in the CTE classroom.

PMIEF has also commissioned research identifying U.S. States that are interested in incorporating project management tools and curricula into their CTE programs. To date, nine project management modules have been created in three (finance, marketing, business) of the 16 U.S. CTE established career pathways. Seventy (70) U.S. secondary school CTE teachers piloted the curricula and evaluated their experience as highly valuable for use in their classrooms.

To find out more about PMIEF and our no-cost project management educational resources; or, to learn more about how we are impacting 21st Century global education, visit our website: www.pmief.org

Donna Weber is the PMI Educational Foundation’s Corporate Engagement Manager. Over a 30-year career, she has held advancement leadership positions with a range of nonprofit organizations, including: an Ivy League university (University of Pennsylvania); a 67-year-old national civics organization (Freedoms Foundation at Valley Forge); a presidential library (Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library Foundation); a large public university (Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey); and, a renowned philharmonic orchestra (The Philadelphia Orchestra).

She is the recipient of both Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees from Temple University’s School of Social Administration where she majored in planning; and, completed  a post-graduate program of study in professional development and staff training in Temple University’s School of Education.

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