Employers |

Back to School Meets the Boardroom

The back-to-school period is typically associated with familiar venues: the hallways in which students gather and share ideas, the classrooms in which teachers set expectations for the learning ahead and the sports fields and music rooms where non-classroom skills will be taught. Media depictions of these settings imply that back-to-school is as reliably consistent as the changing of the season itself. 

Yet the professional world that students are preparing to enter is anything but predictable. Across industries like IT, financial services, healthcare and hospitality, employers are grappling with new technologies, modes of customer engagement and macroeconomic trends like low unemployment, which are having an impact on their talent strategies and business models. If employers need workers who can perform within these shifting tides, why would we expect to see students prepare to enter the workforce in the same way, year after year?


Employee Development, Reimagined

In Colorado, New York and Indiana, CareerWise apprentices, in conjunction with a range of regional and national businesses, are doing things a little differently this fall. CareerWise apprentices are not waiting to figure out how to contribute meaningfully in the workplace until their education is over and they’re on the job hunt. And the businesses who employ them are not placing all their hopes for the future of their workforce on an education system that may not fully understand their needs. 

Instead, through apprenticeship, students are implementing the lessons they learn everyday in school as employees in critical early-career occupations. They’re honing the skills and competencies urgently needed by employers at a time when they have the support of classroom educators. CareerWise’s business partners are, in turn, creating a productive workforce by blending the benefits of classroom learning and on-the-job training. This can look like an apprentice immediately applying takeaways from a lecture to achieve business objectives or an apprentice finishing an important project that inspires them to pursue new directions in the classroom.

So, while back-to-school time tends to conjure images of the return to formal academic learning, CareerWise’s model suggests that businesses are, and can be, major stakeholders of this yearly shift, just as teachers, coaches and counselors have been in the past. 


In an economy where students are not always  learning exactly what they need to know in the classroom in order to be professionally successful, CareerWise is facilitating a transformational shift for industry to fill its early-career talent pipeline, and for students to gain the skills and competencies to gain a competitive advantage in the workforce. 

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