Linking learning opportunities to the future of work and future workforce needs is critical for student success.

The Kentucky Community & Technical College System (KCTCS) has launched a 12-month planning project to create an improved educational model to help students gain the knowledge and skills most relevant to current and future state, regional and local workforce needs. The project, dubbed ALIGN, will create a comprehensive guide for colleges and universities across the nation, which will also inform opportunities for implementation at KCTCS.

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“Our approach to delivering postsecondary education must keep up with the demands of employers and learners. This is about taking bold steps to help learners translate educational experiences into economic opportunity,” said KCTCS interim President Paul Czarapata. “This must become the norm if we are to make good on our promise of delivering truly career-focused programs that help all Kentuckians build the knowledge and skills they need in a timeframe and at a cost they can afford.”

The disconnect between education and the future of work has been a longstanding challenge.

Studies show more than 40 percent of recent college graduates were underemployed even before the economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic, and across the country, only 26 percent of working adults with college experience strongly agreed their education was relevant to their work and day-to-day life.

About the Author:

Mary Hemlepp is the Director of Communication Strategy for the Kentucky Community & Technical College System.

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