Why Does It Matter?
Job-specific training programs and college degrees both increase earnings and prepare students for a successful career.
Career success often depends on the progress a student made in high school. While the ACT can provide some insight, GPA is also an important indicator of students' ability to be successful in college. Students who are behind when entering college may have to take remedial coursework or be unable to complete their degree. Completing at least one secondary degree provides an increase in average pay. Individuals in the Metro area with a bachelor’s degree earned $18,000 more than someone with only a high school education.
Besides grades and test scores, one of the first steps in preparing for college is completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Without the FAFSA, students won't know what type of financial aid they can receive. Local districts are working to ensure all students complete the FAFSA.
For many students, their career interest doesn't require a traditional college degree, but rather vocational or technical training. The Omaha-Council Bluffs area offers a variety of options through community colleges and other job-specific programs that provide this type of training; examples include trade schools such as plumbing, electrical, and welding programs.
It's difficult to obtain career-readiness data. However, there is increased focus on students developing interpersonal skills, sometimes referred to as 21st century skills. These include critical thinking, problem solving, communication, collaboration, and creativity skills. As the economy continues to become more complex and globalized, these skills are critical for students to be successful in obtaining and keeping a job. Locally, there are a few school districts that are beginning to measure these skills over time and use the data to make decisions on curriculum and programming within the schools.