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Speaker: Teachers Should Help Students Pursue The ‘New Reality’

Fleming Wide Shot
LUCERNE VALLEY, Calif. — The days of getting through school, graduating from college, starting a single career, and eventually retiring with a pension are gone for many young people today. Instead, according to speaker Dr. Kevin J. Fleming, future high school graduates will have 11 to 14 jobs over their lifetimes that could — with planning and adapting — bring decades of learning and fulfillment while also making a solid living.
“In the new reality you’re going to do lots of things, and that’s OK,” said Dr. Fleming, who was the guest speaker at the Lucerne Valley Unified School District’s staff breakfast at the Sgt. Brian Walker Memorial Gymnasium at Lucerne Valley High School on Wednesday, Jan. 3.  
Dr. Fleming’s speech served as an opportunity for the district’s educators to re-set and re-think how best to help students prepare for a meaningful future. “Education and the job market are no longer linear,” he said. “We will work in order to continuously learn.”
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It used to be that the more degrees a person earned the higher their annual salary, but recent data shows that’s not necessarily the case today. In fact, someone with a master’s degree may earn  slightly less than a person with just a bachelor’s, for example.
“A competitive advantage is no longer obtained through course completion, community service, high GPA, or extra-curricular activities. Graduation is a milestone, not a destination.”
Dr. Fleming, who grew up in Ventura County, pursued the “old promise”: He earned two bachelor’s degrees from Loyola Marymount University, a Master of Arts from Ohio State, an MBA from the University of Redlands, and a Ph.D. in Education from Claremont Graduate University. But he had many thousands of dollars in education loan debt. He then tried a different approach and earned a Career Technical Education (CTE) certification in geographical information systems (GIS) that helped lift him out what he calls “working poverty.”
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Today Dr. Fleming dedicates his time working on an educational model that is flexible, purpose-driven, student-focused, and career-minded. He believes the new formula for success combines education with technical training to secure a competitive advantage in a new economy.
Dr. Fleming said there are four key steps to success for educators and their students:
1. Self Awareness — Ask: “What do you love to do,” as well as “What are you good at doing?”
2. Career Exploration — Ask: “What can you get paid to do?” “What occupations/industries are a high priority and/or are emerging?”
3. Career Planning — Discuss and verify alignment between a tentative career goal and personality/skills/aptitude.
4. Education & Training Plan — Investigate and verify multiple paths to initial goal (work experience, job shadowing, interviews, apprenticeships) and establish a skills-based education plan.
“It’s  time to encourage every student to redefine the goal of their education to fulfill their purpose, on purpose.”
He said educators should emphasize relevant work experience, industry connections, and skill verification via certifications. Also, he said, teachers should help students align their personality with their passions, potential, profession and purpose.
Educators should help every student to get at least one industry-recognized certification before graduation. “It’s time to equip every student to secure a competitive advantage through Credit for Prior Learning (CPL), Career Technical Education (CTE), certifications, Competency Based Education (CBE) and work-based learning.”
He suggested educators visit and research the vast number of certifications available for their students.
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Lucerne Valley USD is already on the path that Dr. Fleming talks about.
“It’s a perspective we do embrace in this district,” said Lucerne Valley USD Superintendent Peter Livingston. “It’s like our motto says, each student has a name and not just a number.”
Furthermore, Mr. Livingston said, “We have a great start in LVUSD with our CTE programs and many things we are doing. The idea is to expand career awareness into the elementary school. They already do career days and many things that talk about careers in the elementary.”
Both Mr. Livingston and Dr. Fleming cite the Pennsylvania Department of Education for providing a framework for student success.
“Pennsylvania has created standards and benchmarks around these.  Bringing in the standards from Pennsylvania to guide the process would make it even more focused. Currently California doesn't have any, however we can create our own roadmap.”
Greeting event attendees was Assistant Superintendent Nate Lambdin. Breakfast at the staff breakfast was hosted by the Lucerne Valley USD Food Services staff. 
Dr. Fleming is CEO of Catapult, which produces videos including “Success in the New Economy,” and he has authored books and articles. He has given a TEDx talk and has worked to influence student-success initiatives in a number of states and countries.
Dr. Fleming’s video “Success in the New Economy” can be seen on Youtube at SUCCESS IN THE NEW ECONOMY
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