A study finds college students may not be prepared for the careers they want to pursue.
In North Dakota and Minnesota, the gaps are most apparent in the health care field, where fewer than 20 percent of students who want to pursue those careers are ready for college-level science.
The study is based on responses from students who graduated in 2007 and took the ACT college entrance exam. North Dakota and Minnesota may face labor shortfalls in fields where skilled workers are most needed, the report says.
Job projections show the highest growth will be in education careers in North Dakota and management careers in Minnesota.
Ed Colby, a spokesman for ACT, said educators should make students aware of what careers are available and what courses they need to prepare for those jobs.
ACT does not track how often students who say they’re interested in a certain career end up going into that field, Colby said.
The report said students are most prepared for English and social sciences, but much less prepared for science and math.
“That may be an indicator that those students are not realistically prepared to handle the coursework they may encounter in college,” Colby said.
North Dakota Commerce Commissioner Shane Goettle said the state has more job opportunities for graduates, but they need the right education.
“That’s a gap we need to close,” Goettle said.
Marsha Krotseng, a vice chancellor for strategic planning for the North Dakota University System, said openings in the health care and technology fields point to the importance of math and science.
“Students, as they’re going through the schools, need to be aware the courses they take as well as how rigorous those courses are and what they do throughout the school year really has an implication for where they should go in the future,” Krotseng said.
At Fargo North High School North Dakota State University math instructors have talked to high school students about what they need to be successful in college-level math, said Principal Andy Dahlen.
North Dakota students graduating in 2012 will need 24 credits, or three more than they need now, said Anita Decker, an accreditation director for the state Department of Public Instruction.
A Minnesota program developed by Minnesota State Community and Technical College allows high school students to submit essays and get comments from college instructors, said Melinda Voss, a spokeswoman for the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities System.
Information from: The Forum, http://www.in-forum.com
– Associated Press
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