Shift Happens 2 – Finding Strong Footing: The Future of Assessment in the Learning-to-Employment Landscape
Shift Happens 2 provides a comprehensive overview of the changes in the learning-to-employment landscape and examines its causes. The report was published by Innovate+Educate, an American non-profit working to create new pathways to training and employment based on competencies and skills.
Today, the direct pathway from primary to secondary to postsecondary education to a job has become rare. That staid formula is no longer working. Today, a learners’ most pressing need is a greater connect between education and employment outcomes. Major societal issues — the student debt crisis and the economic stagnation of the middle class — can be traced to the inability of traditional postsecondary education to deliver the right skills, to the right people, at the right cost, in the right form factor. Practical issues, such as rigid class schedules and large up-front costs, prevented most adults, and many of their children, from pursuing the American Dream. The middle class, with no means of getting ahead, and no accessible ladder to climb has hollowed out. They have also begun to demand change. The consumer (the working learner) is saying “No more!”
With this new consumer shift, the largest demographics now engaging in higher education are a new massive force. Defined as “the working learners and learning workers,” this combined group of higher education students is far larger than that of the traditional students. To meet their needs, the linkage between school and work, credential and employment, is tightening.
The first Shift Happens was released in December 2016. The paper outlined the tremendous shifts impacting the degree-to-employment landscape. It also provided an overview of new technologies in the education, training, and hiring domains, from so-called people analytics tools used by HR chiefs, to accelerated learning providers, to credentialing platforms, to social networks that assisted job applicants in showcasing their unique skills and talents.
Over two years later, the key difference between 2016 and 2019 is that the new approaches have now been used long enough, they are starting to make trails in the mud — and where there are trails, there will soon be roads. The U.S. is still mired in marsh muck: employers can’t find talent; job sites are sifting out good talent; degreed individuals remain under-employed and unemployed; and institutions are seeing a decrease in enrollment in traditional education. Nevertheless, it is now possible to trace out a route that leads from the original societal forces demanding better career pathways to a new competency- based education and workforce system. The route leads to new education structures arising in response to those demands, to some of the most significant final pieces — advances in assessment — needed to make the new structures function.
Shift Happens 2 is co-authored by Dr. Merrilea Mayo, Director of Mayo Enterprises and Jamai Blivin, CEO of Innovate+Educate.