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ASSOCIATION FOR CAREER & TECHNICAL EDUCATION

21st-century Skills Lead to Better Jobs

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June 13, 2013

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21st-century Skills Lead to Better Jobs

Young adults who characterize themselves as developing 21st century skills often during their last year of education are more than twice as likely to say that they have a high-quality job in which they are successful and valued, according to a Gallup poll.

Specifically, 17 percent of young adults who reported that they developed more 21st century skills in school also responded that they were successful and valued at work, versus 8 percent of young adults with medium or low levels of 21st century skill development.

The 21st century skills measured included collaboration, knowledge construction, skilled communication, global awareness, self-regulation, real-world problem-solving and technology used in learning. Of these, real-world problem-solving had the strongest relationship to work quality, which was defined as overall success in the respondent's current job, success relative to peers, having a voice in workplace decision-making and being a valued member of the workplace.

Responses varied by educational attainment. Interestingly, young adults aged 18 to 22 were more likely than older respondents to report that they had applied knowledge to solve real-world problems during their last year of school. As Gallup notes, this may reflect a growing emphasis on real-world and project-based learning -- one of the strengths of CTE.

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