The state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education has named Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) President Dennis Berkey to a newly created task force that will develop recommendations to better integrate college and career readiness into K-12 education.
Recognizing the importance of providing students with early access to career education and multiple pathways to success in postsecondary education, the Integrating College and Career Readiness Task Force will explore ways to better engage students and employers in activities to boost career readiness.
"To ensure the best possible preparation for careers, whether beginning immediately upon graduation from high school or after advanced study, we must provide students with relevant and high quality subject matter learning, skills development, and career guidance," Berkey said. "Achieving good alignment between the K-12 experience and the expectations of employers and of higher education is vitally important. I look forward to the opportunity to address these matters with this distinguished group of citizens."
The 30-member task force, comprising business, education and community leaders, will meet five times over the next six months. In June 2012, the group will present its report to the board with recommendations around the adoption of a clear, measurable definition of career readiness.
"In today's world, students need to acquire the knowledge and skills to prepare them for career success at the same time they acquire mastery in core academic subjects," said Elementary and Secondary Education Commissioner Mitchell Chester. "I will follow the task force's deliberations closely, and eagerly await its recommendations on how best to integrate career readiness into the program of study for all Massachusetts students."
Berkey is a well-respected education authority, and this appointment follows numerous others that tap into his experience, knowledge and dedication. This past June, Berkey was appointed to the Executive Board of the Massachusetts Math and Science Initiative (MMSI), a nonprofit organization that boosts public school enrollment in advanced placement courses in mathematics and science. Berkey has been an active member of MMSI since its inception in 2007, and is currently spearheading a challenge to raise $165,000 to support the MMSI partnership with four Worcester high schools. To this effort, WPI has committed to contributing $82,500, or half this amount. Also in June, Berkey accepted an invitation to join the Council on Competitiveness, a nonprofit, nonpartisan policy organization of chief executives, university presidents and national labor leaders that is setting an agenda to drive U.S. productivity and leadership in world markets.
In 2010, Berkey was appointed to Gov. Deval L. Patrick's Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) Advisory Council, which brings together members of Massachusetts' public and private sector involved with STEM career and education planning to boost student interest in, and preparation for, employment in the STEM fields. In 2008, he was also appointed to serve on the steering commission of the Leaders For Education coalition, an appointment that allows him to work with business, civic, and higher education leaders to provide support for changes in public education and to put education reform back in a primary position on Beacon Hill.