Bob Gliner, Documentary filmmaker

 

Job Centered Learning
(57 minutes)

Many economists, business owners, and labor leaders have raised alarm about a rising skills gap in the United States between the jobs that are available and those with the skills needed to fill them. This gap, largely notable among the wide range of careers in the construction trades but rapidly expanding to other occupations as well, is being driven, in part, by the retirement of baby boomers and the denigration of ‘blue collar’ work in our nation’s schools. While many of these jobs, despite only requiring a high school diploma, pay beyond a living wage, high schools across the country have largely ignored these possible career options and instead focused on sending all of their graduates to college. Yet, evidence clearly demonstrates that when high schools introduce vocational or career technical education as part of their curriculum, students not only learn valuable occupational skills, but are also more motivated to learn traditional core subject matter such as math, English and science because they see their connection to the occupational paths they are pursuing. Job Centered Learning takes a critical look at the wide range of career education some schools are offering – masonry, fashion design, forensic science, welding, aquaculture, culinary arts, aircraft maintenance, animal husbandry – as well as the way such course offerings are framed in a variety of educational contexts. Filled with insightful and provocative interviews with a diverse range of students, teachers, employers and leading experts in the field as well as vivid imagery of students actively engaged in life changing classroom experiences, Job Centered Learning will add to the national debate around both the vitality of our economy as well as the role schools can play in shaping how a new generation of students can find more meaningful educational experiences, fulfilling livelihoods and worthwhile careers.

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