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In Today’s Rapidly Changing Job Market, Online Students May Have the Upper Hand

According to a study by the McKinsey Consulting Firm, “About 29% of work in the United States could be done remotely with no productivity loss, and another 10% could be done remotely if needed.” This has a number of different implications for students who are graduating into the current job market in the next few years. Consequently, learners have begun to re-think career choices as the world continues moving in the direction of remote jobs and remote education.

 

There is a great deal of overlap between remote work and online schooling in terms of the freedom they offer. Online learning affords students the opportunity to learn from anywhere and maintain their own schedule. Similarly, employees who work remotely can often work wherever they have access to a reliable internet connection. It’s this freedom and flexibility that has both students and employees opting for remote options. One recent study revealed that 65% of employees would even take a pay cut if it meant that they could continue working remotely. More and more students are also seeking out online options, especially those offered by more established programs like Stride K12.

 

While teachers, families, and students alike initially struggled to adjust to the abrupt shift to online schooling, many were eventually able to take advantage of the benefits of this mode of instruction. This was especially true at Stride K12 where students not only avoided learning loss during the pandemic, but actually made some academic gains. Even now that many schools are offering in-person learning, the perception of online learning is shifting. At the higher education level, students were left with a positive attitude toward online learning overall and want to continue having online options post-pandemic, according to surveys.

 

So, how can students apply the skills they’ve learned through online learning to a future career? That’s where Stride K12’s online Career Prep program comes in. Career Prep coaches encourage students to explore career paths while building on their unique talents, and they encourage students to thrive in the face of change as well. As business expert Leilani Brown explained in a recent On Learning podcast episode, students need to focus on “agility,” which enables them to “move into different careers over time” to keep up with this changing landscape. The importance of agility and adaptability is also emphasized by Career Prep coaches. They explain that it’s important to investigate different career paths, even if they are different from what students want now. Getting to know people who work in different professions is essential, not only in terms of honing networking skills, but also in terms of exposing students to the greatest number of career paths possible.

 

Stride k12 internships assist people to gain work experience or satisfy requirements for certificates and qualifications. That’s especially helpful in a time when many other companies have had to cut internships after an economic downturn. Natalie Hohman, a student who interned in corporate communications at Stride K12, said that her internship helped her adjust to the new work environment: “As someone lucky enough to have a virtual internship during this crisis, I hope more students are given opportunities for online work. Internships are crucial because of the valuable workplace experience they provide I am glad that I have this opportunity to get a head start, and that so many companies are rising to the challenge.”

 

The transition from being a student to being a full-time employee can be a challenging one, but participating in a career prep program that get students to consider that next step in their lives years before they actually need to take it can be tremendously helpful. Stride K12 has introduced a number of different programs, including job shadowing, internships, and paths for students to earn certifications. According to Credential Engine, “There are 967,734 credentials awaiting soon-to-be employees.” Additionally, about 163,000 students have already registered for IBM’s SkillsBuild program, and Google recently launched its Google Career Certificates.” In line with this type of preparation, Stride K12 offers certification programs in agriculture, business, and IT, among other fields.

 

With all of these different opportunities comes the possibility of added stress to an already stressful time. Stride K12 intern Jessica Lawrence knows that first-hand. She recommends that young people pursuing these opportunities remember to stay calm as they confront these big life choices: “Being anxious and questioning yourself is not going to help, period. Relax in the face of adversity. Take time and practice self-care. Don’t worry about ‘wasting time’ by being gentle with yourself—working while calm and well-rested is productive. Working while stressed and tired is not. You are living in tough times. We all are.”

 

Preparing to enter the workforce while also learning important academic subjects is not easy. However, developing skills like adaptability and the ability the work independently through online schooling and career prep programs can be a tremendously helpful first step.

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AnnElise Hatjakes

AnnElise Hatjakes is a contributing writer for Learning Liftoff. Her career in education began in 2010 when she worked as a teaching assistant while earning her master’s degree in writing. She has taught in a wide range of educational settings, including a public school, a school for gifted students, a university, and a county jail. She’s interested in issues of equity in education, which she strives to address through her own teaching practices and writing. AnnElise is the recipient of the University of Chicago’s Outstanding Educator Award, and her fiction has appeared in literary journals. As a third generation Nevadan, she loves all things Western, from wide open spaces to wild horses.

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