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A Publication of WTVP

Junior Achievement of Central Illinois’ parent company, JA Worldwide, continues to effect change in the work-readiness domain. There are currently two national career/work-readiness assessment systems being developed and implemented in various states throughout the country. One of these is the U.S. Chamber of Commerce National Work Readiness Credential Project, for which JA Worldwide has been an integral part of developing for the past nine months. The most accurate, current information about this project can be found at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce web site, (www.uschamber.com/cwp/strategies/wrcfaqs.htm). The other national career/work-readiness program is being developed and sponsored by ACT, Inc., a testing and assessment firm best known for the ACT Assessment, one of the nation’s most popular college entrance exams. ACT has developed a Career Readiness Certificate (www.careerreadinesscertificate.org) that’s based on an individual’s scores on three or four WorkKeys assessments (usually Applied Mathematics, Locating Information, Reading for Information, and sometimes Writing).

However, The Partnership for 21st Century Skills has emerged as the leading advocacy organization focused on infusing 21st century skills into education. The organization brings together the business community, education leaders, and policymakers to define a powerful vision for 21st century education to ensure every child’s success as citizens and workers in this century. The Partnership encourages schools, districts, and states to advocate for the infusion of 21st century skills into education, and provides tools and resources to help facilitate and drive change. Information about the Partnership can be found at www.21stcenturyskills.org.

In addition to JA Worldwide, Partnership members include Adobe Systems, Aligent Technologies Foundation, American Association of School Librarians, American Federation of Teachers, Apple, BellSouth Foundation, Cable in the Classroom, Cisco Systems, Corporation for Public Broadcasting, Dell, Educational Testing Service, Ford Motor Company Foundation, Intel Foundation, LeapFrog SchoolHouse, McGraw-Hill Education, Microsoft, National Education Association, Oracle Education Foundation, Pearson Education, SAP, SAS, Texas Instruments, Thomson Gale, Time Warner, and Verizon.

The Partnership has published four key documents defining its vision for 21st century learning: Learning for the 21st Century provides the framework; The Road to 21st Century Learning assists state education leaders in crafting visionary policies and gives policy-makers guidance; Results That Matter outlines a compelling framework that focuses on results for high school graduates; and A State Leaders Action Guide to 21st Century Skills provides legislators and educational leaders with tools for implementation.

JA Worldwide was attracted to the Partnership for 21st Century Skills because of the focus it places on providing America’s youth with global awareness; financial, economic, business, and entrepreneurial understanding; and civic literacy—content taught and reinforced through JA’s classroom-based, after-school, and capstone programs. In addition, the learning, thinking, and life skills align with JA’s work-readiness initiatives. Because JA programs are so closely aligned with the Partnership’s vision for 21st century learning, JA becomes a natural source of instructional programming for school districts that adopt the framework. IBI

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