The needs of students have changed with the job market

By Dr. Frankie Poplau, Superintendent

New Prague Area Schools

The school doors are once again opening and the responsibility we carry for the youth of this region is the topic of most conversation. What do the students of today need from school to prepare them for the world of tomorrow? It is by answering this question and responding, we will continue to be a school district that has earned and maintains a reputation for excellence.

Just think about it! The current fifth grade class will most likely enter the work force somewhere between the 2015-2018 years. Given how much the world has changed in the past ten years (internet and cell phones as two examples), we can expect that things will be quite different.

We know the world has become a global environment. Business, travel and even the mobility of where people live has become fluid throughout the world. As always, the best and the brightest will get the lucrative jobs and a new distinguishing factor will be a person’s ability to speak multiple languages. We must prepare our students!

We know the United States is no longer heavily driven by manufacturing but rather has become the marketplace for knowledge. Our greatest exports include higher education, consulting services as well as research and development. The job market will demand our youth to demonstrate academic prowess. We must give our students an insatiable thirst for learning!

Fifteen years ago, the job market predominately valued a four-year degree. Now the best jobs go to a strong technical degree plus practical experience, a four-year degree coupled with some technical or practical experience, or an advanced graduate degree. We must build a strong foundation of knowledge and skills for our students!

Our country and our local region are still in great need of the entrepreneur spirit. These are the people that see a need and meet it with their own ingenuity. The most successful entrepreneurs know their business, have tremendous problem solving skills, understand what motivates people and do not conform to the status quo. We must offer academic options that allow our students to be creative and explore!

In our highly technological world, it is imperative we guard the simple joys of good music, thought-provoking literature, a serene oil painting and the fantasy of the theater. They represent the soul of humanity. We must teach our students to keep the arts valued and alive!

The school doors are once again opening and the youth of this region are in good hands.

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