Soon your students will be sitting in their desks, or at their screens, ready to begin a new school year. Where will your instruction take them? Can they see a clear path to a promising future? What can you give them, as an educator, a mentor, an ally? Now’s the time to imagine how you might enhance your curricula and bring invaluable, hands-on learning experience into the classroom.

Imparting real-world life and career skills to your students helps deepen their engagement and participation in the classroom, whether virtual or traditional. It gives students the confidence to transition from classroom to career or pursue a higher education program that aligns with their goals.

How can you help that happen?

1. Try on-the-job training.

It’s essential for students to be exposed to trades and professions that do and do not require a degree, providing them the opportunity to learn about and explore an array of careers while still in high school. They’ll build confidence to make career choices that are right for them.

More than half of students believe a skills-based education (e.g., trade skills, nursing, STEM, etc.) makes sense today. Interest in trades is growing, and access to career and technical education (CTE) programs may help. But more than half of students don’t understand what CTE is (though most of their desired career paths include CTE on-ramps).

Compton Unified School District in Compton, CA, for example, is leading a successful CTE program within their high schools, providing real-world experiences inside and outside of the classroom. Intuit donated a $200,000 food truck to the school district’s culinary arts program to help students gain hands-on experience managing their own business from food preparation to handling transactions using QuickBooks. Experiences like these foster an entrepreneurial spirit in students while they build tangible skills that are transferrable in a variety of professional settings.

2. Teach financial literacy.

A lack of financial literacy cost Americans $1,389 on average in 2021. This is a crucial life skill, full stop. Financial literacy includes knowing how to budget, use credit, and pay taxes. Only eight states have or are implementing statewide guarantees for a standalone personal finance course for all high school students: This should be a major concern.

When we teach financial literacy in high school, we prime students for a choice of careers in business or entrepreneurship. We equip them with vital life skills. Students who take a personal finance course are more likely to demonstrate sensible financial behavior, such as decreasing by 21% the likelihood of carrying a credit card balance.

While developing new curricula can be time-consuming and expensive, educators may tap into free resources that enable students to get hands-on, real-world experience in the classroom and at home. For instance, Intuit’s TurboTax simulation, provides self-driven learning modules introducing students to tax education basics, so they can face their fast-approaching Tax Day with confidence and a better understanding of how taxes work. Educators can also use Intuit’s Financial Literacy Foundations course, where students can learn the basic financial skills they’ll need for their future, such as managing credit and creating savings plans that work.

3. Use tools your students will use.

Seven in 10 educators are constantly striving to innovate with edtech, and 83% agree that technology is a highly effective way to engage students and improve productivity. Imagine the advantage when educators incorporate industry-relevant tech that students will soon encounter in their careers.

Integrating relevant technology into curriculum helps you play a key role in launching your students’ productive futures and helping them choose a rewarding career path. While high school budgets remain tight, though, onboarding new tech can be expensive and not always accessible.

According to Educators for Excellence, 43% of educators often download free lessons or resources to replace or supplement their curriculum. Choosing the right partner for your district can offer not only industry-relevant software but free training and support for both educators and students along the adoption journey. An example: the Intuit QuickBooks Online for Educators program, which boasts free access to the tool, a variety of interactive curricula, and a certification route for both students and educators.

How Intuit Supports Classrooms

Intuit aims to prepare 3.6 million people for jobs by 2024. To that end, we’ve created free resources, tools, and software access for teachers and students around the world. Schools can explore QuickBooks, TurboTax, and Mint for free, as well as access Intuit’s design thinking course, Design for Delight, and Financial Literacy Foundations. Our tools and resources can help your students go from classroom to career with confidence.

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About the Author

Intuit is a global technology platform that helps our customers and communities overcome their most important financial challenges.

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