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The Path from Education to Career

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Phil Roeder
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Skaar says part of the problem is young people's reluctance to take advantage of proffered services like career centers on campus.

Education and landing a job are inextricably linked in the minds of most Americans, but after the Great Recession it wasn't as clear whether getting a college diploma meant getting, and keeping, a job.

Saba Ali, associate professor in the College of Education at the University of Iowa, says that while statistics bear out the correlation between college degrees and higher paying employment, the question of whether college prepares students to do their jobs well is more nuanced.

“The issue of whether it prepares you for a career has a lot to do with what you study in college, what you’re preparing for.”

Nicole Skaar, assistant professor in the College of Education at the University of Northern Iowa, says helping students find a fulfilling career is happening earlier and earlier.

“Some of the research says we should start to talk to kids about this in Kindergarten, making connections between school and what that could look like for their future.”

Those programs exist both in and outside of schools, like the camp created by the Jacobson Institute at the University of Iowa, which try to simultaneously help students find a career they're passionate about and give them the tools to follow through.

On this Iowa at Work installment of Talk of Iowa, host Charity Nebbe speaks with Skaar and Ali about education's role in career placement and preparation. 

Charity Nebbe is the host of IPR's Talk of Iowa