By Jacqueline Pitts, The Bottom Line
Kentucky Education and Workforce Cabinet Secretary Hal Heiner wants to see all students get dual credits before graduating high school and would like to see the state utilize more career counseling to ensure success of all students in Kentucky.
In an interview with The Bottom Line, Heiner said the state is experiencing a middle-skill gap where middle-skill jobs account for 58 percent of Kentucky’s labor market, but only 48 percent of the state’s workers are trained to the middle-skill level.
Heiner pointed to the fact that while many of the good paying jobs do not require a college degree, more than just a high school diploma is needed to get these jobs. Which is why he said there needs to be more training done at that stage to ensure the state can fill these quality positions.
“We are hoping to have our education systems respond by having both career exploration and post-secondary success to our students while they’re still in high school. Because we know if they achieve post-secondary in high school, research tells us about 90 percent will go on into the post-secondary world after they graduate,” Heiner said.
The Education and Workforce Cabinet secretary went on to say that the dual credit scholarships recently funded by the state are a great first step but said the goal should be to ensure every high school student in the state can get some type of dual credit before they graduate.
To achieve this, Heiner said he would like to see the Kentucky Board of Education make it a requirement to have some form of dual credit in order to graduate from high school.
In terms of making sure Kentucky college students graduate with degrees they can utilize, Gallup and the Strada Education Network recently released the findings from Education Consumer Pulse™ (ECP), the first-ever daily survey of U.S. adults designed to understand and track Americans’ perceptions of their education experiences and how they relate to their career and life goals.
The survey of nearly 23,000 U.S. adults who attended both two- and four-year colleges found that many students are not utilizing career counseling and often experience buyer’s remorse with the degree they received.
Heiner said Kentucky has a “huge information gap” when it comes to high school students receiving guidance on their future. Because of this, Heiner said career counseling should begin more at the middle school level to start showing students what possibilities are out there for them and incorporating more internships in high school so students can try different career options.
“We all sort of learned in life from those early jobs what we liked to do and didn’t like to do and saw where our talents were. And we need to bring that into the high schools,” Heiner said.
Hear more on what Education and Workforce Cabinet Secretary Heiner had to say about the skills gap, career counseling, and the status of charter schools after passage of legislation during the 2017 session in the video below: