In a lifetime, one will spend nearly 90,000 hours at work, says Nancy Hoffman, co-author — with her husband, Senior Research Fellow Robert Schwartz — of the new Harvard Education Press title, Learning for Careers. So why, then, aren't we educating students to enter the workplace?
“Most students, unless they have parents who take them to their workplaces or take them to see friends who are scientists or train conductors or whatever, don’t really learn much about work," says Hoffman, senior adviser at Jobs for the Future, and a cofounder of the Pathways to Prosperity Network. "So the work-based learning experience is important, not just so you can explore, but so you can understand what work is and learn how to work.”
In Learning for Careers, and with their work with Pathways to Prosperity (Schwartz is also a co-founder), Hoffman and Schwartz look at how to create more sturdy pathways for students from high school to career, exploring ways to bring post-secondary learning and career education into secondary schools — early exposure that has proven to have positive impact on completion and retention rates. It is important to remember, says Schwartz, that the goal of high school is no longer just college. Career must be considered.
“It’s no longer a question of college or career, it’s got to be both," he says, "and those two have to be really connected to one another.”
In this edition of the Harvard EdCast, Schwartz and Hoffman discuss their new book, Pathways to Prosperity, and what they’ve learned about preparing students for the workplace.
About the Harvard EdCast
The Harvard EdCast is a weekly series of podcasts, available on the Harvard University iTunes U page, that features a 15-20 minute conversation with thought leaders in the field of education from across the country and around the world. Hosted by Matt Weber and co-produced by Jill Anderson, the Harvard EdCast is a space for educational discourse and openness, focusing on the myriad issues and current events related to the field.