The great economic crisis of our day, a crisis of theory as well as practice, is a crisis of information.”
–George Gilder, “Knowledge and Power”
Every year, millions of kids graduate high school and pursue college, or a job — or both. And that’s when the sinking feeling hits.
What career do I want? What education do I need? Will pursuing my dreams leave me with tons of debt? Will I get stuck in a job I hate just so I can keep the lights on?”
We’ve grown numb to the problem because it seems inevitable: Choosing the right career and education is flat-out overwhelming and that’s just the way it is. But does it have to be? Since when did this land of opportunity have to be a giant ocean that drowns us?
Houston, we have an information gap
Here’s the actual problem. There is a serious lack of actionable information to help students make career and education decisions. You can pick up your phone and Google just about anything (Should I carry an umbrella today? Where’s the best local sushi? How do I get downtown?), yet Americans still struggle to find reliable information to help them determine (1) the good careers that suit their interests and (2) the education that will help them get there.
Before fixing anything, let’s make an important distinction. Everyone has heard of the skills gap: Workers can’t find work, employers can’t find qualified employees, and the problem seems to begin even before college, as students leave high school without the right knowledge, ambitions, or expectations.
But this so-called skills gap, more often than not, is really an information gap. There are plenty of jobs and there’s plenty of talent; the trouble is connecting the two. All the noise kicked up by our sprawling economy (where some metropolitan areas are larger than entire nations, economically speaking) creates a deafening arena where tuning into the career path that’s calling one’s name can be maddening. Jobs! Schools! Degrees! So many options! High schoolers can’t sort, filter or work with this labor market data in any reasonable way.
Data isn’t the enemy
But data doesn’t have to be dumbfounding. It should actually be empowering. Using it is a matter of organization and application. In fact, thousands of businesses, higher education institutions, and public sector workforce and economic development professionals have used labor market data to make crucial decisions for talent strategies, program planning and economic growth. The solution lies in turning data into helpful information that students can easily find, comprehend, and use to make better decisions.
What if we could tell the 17-year-old senior that there are 20 local career opportunities that match her personality and would let her use her talents? What if we could show her the colleges and universities offering the education and training she needs to pursue her dream career? What if we could turn all this noise into meaningful information to help young people understand the opportunities that actually interest them — before they commit to college?
What would that do to the economy?
This is the solution we at CareerBuilder are working on in Find Your Calling — a new initiative that takes advantage of the huge amount of labor market data to change the way young people find the education they need to prosper in the careers they love.
Watch the video to see more about how Find Your Calling works.
Throughout the month of August, our resident talent advisors are discussing issues around the biggest recruiting issues right now and getting you ready for CareerBuilder’s Empower 2015. Subscribe to Talent Advisor to stay on top of the latest blog posts and discussions, and get your ticket to see Rob and other thought leaders speak about the future of employment at Empower 2015.