While most careers require that a person have at least a four year college degree, having a college degree does not guarantee a job. Just ask the millions of twenty-somethings that are currently unemployed in this country. What you need to ask yourself is whether or not a chosen major will lead to a service that someone will actually pay for. No one is entitled to a job, even if you earned a college degree, so it is your own lookout if you choose to major in the History of Martian Needlepoint and come out of college with no job prospects. No one needs, nor will pay for, the services of an expert in this field. Would you?
In order to make yourself marketable in the workplace, you must be able to offer skills and services that an employer would find worth his or her money. I would like to present, as an example of career readiness, a group of WHSAD’s current seniors who are taking Advanced CAD, the last class in our Architectural Preservation sequence. Taught by Mr. Codio, the skill-sets needed to complete this course are demanding. Focused on the use of AutoCAD (Computer Aided Design), a software design program that is the industry standard for architects, the students in this class are challenged to create designs whose accuracy is tested when working prototypes are printed using our 3D printer. See Mr. Codio’s post Seniors Lighting The Way for specific details about AutoCAD. What is important to point out here is that most students entering architectural programs in colleges do not have the level of expertise in AutoCAD that WHSAD students graduate with. In fact, we predict that no less than 20% of our current seniors will graduate with a professional certification in the use of AutoCAD. Next year we expect that percentage to quadruple at minimum. In other words, many of our students leave here with an advantage over other college students in workplace marketability.
Finally, attaining technical skills to make yourself marketable to an employer is still not enough. You must also be able to clearly communicate to others what you can do or what you have done on the job. As part of the lamp project, seniors were required to present the process they followed from beginning to end. This presentation included mistakes made along the way as well as the corrections that followed.
See the video below where WHSAD senior Christian Pabon demonstrates the design and problem-solving processes used to create a lamp using AutoCAD.