Thursday, August 10, 2023

‘How Do I Do That?’ The New Hires of 2023 Are Unprepared for Work: Remote Learning During the Pandemic Left Students Short of Basic Skills. Now Companies are Trying to Teach Them on the Job; NY Schoolchildren Can’t Read — Yet State Leaders Refuse to Act, and other C-Virus related stories

Steve Koss for The Wall Street Journal
WSJ: ‘How Do I Do That?’ The New Hires of 2023 Are Unprepared for Work:
Remote learning during the pandemic left students short of basic skills. Now companies are trying to teach them on the job
Roman Devengenzo was consulting for a robotics company in Silicon Valley last fall when he asked a newly minted mechanical engineer to design a small aluminum part that could be fabricated on a lathe—a skill normally mastered in the first or second year of college.
“How do I do that?” asked the young man.
So Devengenzo, an engineer who has built technology for NASA and Google, and who charges consulting clients a minimum of $300 an hour, spent the next three hours teaching Lathework 101. “You learn by doing,” he said. “These kids in school during the pandemic, all they’ve done is work on computers.”
The knock-on effect of years of remote learning during the pandemic is gumming up workplaces around the country. It is one reason professional service jobs are going unfilled and goods aren’t making it to market. It also helps explain why national productivity has fallen for the past five quarters, the longest contraction since at least 1948, according to the U.S. Labor Department.
The shortcomings run the gamut from general knowledge, including how to make change at a register, to soft skills such as working with others. Employers are spending more time and resources searching for candidates and often lowering expectations when they hire. Then they are spending millions to fix new employees’ lack of basic skills.
Talent First, a business-led workforce-development organization in Grand Rapids, Mich., is encouraging employers to stop trying to hire based on skill. Instead, hiring managers should look for a willingness to learn, said President Kevin Stotts.
“Employers are saying, ‘We’re just trying to find some people who could fog the mirror,’ ” Stotts said.
Since 2020, when the pandemic began and remote learning moved students out of schools and into virtual classrooms, the pass rates on national certifications and assessment exams taken by engineers, office workers, soldiers and nurses have all fallen.
Among the approximately 40,000 candidates taking the Fundamentals of Engineering exam for work as professional engineers, scores fell by about 10% during the pandemic, said David Cox, CEO of the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying. --->READ MORE HERE
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NY POST: NY schoolchildren can’t read — yet state leaders refuse to act:
Look what The New York Times finally discovered: New York school kids — in alarming numbers — can’t read.
On Wednesday, the paper reported the state is behind the rest of the nation in fixing its reading program and that declines in fourth-grade reading scores here on last year’s National Assessment of Educational Progress test were twice the national average.
In large districts like Buffalo, Rochester, and Syracuse, as many as eight in 10 kids fail annual reading tests; in Gotham, less than half pass.
This is old news to anyone paying attention, but the folks in charge of state education policy have other priorities.
Other states, and New York City under Mayor Eric Adams and Chancellor David Banks, have taken steps to fix the problem by re-emphasizing phonics instruction, which all the science now shows is the best way to help kids learn.
But the state Board of Regents and its minions at the State Education Department are more interested in protecting teachers from consequences for school failures and getting kids through the system as soon as possible, regardless of how little they’ve learned.
That fourth-grade reading stat, by the way, is critical: Kids who don’t acquire basic reading skills by that point are more likely to fare poorly in life: dropping out of school, in poverty, and in jail. --->READ MORE HERE
Follow links below to relevant/related stories and resources:

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WSJ: Coronavirus Live Updates

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