The Roundtable works to effect positive change on public policy issues that are most important to supporting state economic vitality and fostering opportunity for all Washingtonians. That work includes sharing news and analyzing policy developments affecting our state.

Employers and college faculty report gaps in recent graduates’ preparedness

According to a new national survey by Achieve, 78 percent of college faculty and 62 percent of employers believe that recent public high school graduates are not sufficiently prepared for the expectations they will face in college and in their careers.

Employers and faculty aren’t alone. In a previous Achieve survey of recent high school graduates, nearly half of the graduates themselves reported not feeling fully prepared for their next steps.

Diving into the survey findings, 96 percent of instructors at two-year colleges reported gaps in their students’ preparation, and 82 percent of employers reported at least some gaps in graduates’ preparation for jobs in their companies.

These gaps are predominantly in students’ critical thinking, comprehension of complicated materials, work habits, written communication, and problem solving skills. For employers (a reported 61 percent), this results in the need for additional education or training to make up for gaps in reading, writing, or math.

These results have real consequences for the graduates and the economy, and are highly relevant to our state. Washington has a persistent gap between the skills that job candidates have and the skills Washington employers need. Preparing Washington students for the great opportunities that exist here depends on a robust K-12 education system that prepares students for postsecondary education and 21st century careers.

Lawmakers made a landmark new investment in public education during the 2015 legislative session. However, money alone will not assure college- and career-readiness.  We must continue to pursue policies that will result in student achievement gains and ensure every student is ready for the opportunities that await.

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