The aim of career and technical education is to prepare students to effectively transition into the workforce by gaining in-demand skills. One of the nation’s highest demanded skills is project management. The Project Management Institute (PMI®) expects 22 million new project management job openings through 2027.
Most CTE programs across the United States do not have a project management course, or even incorporate general project management skills into the curriculum. This is an oversight that does a disservice to today’s students, especially if you ask Joslyn Sato.
Joslyn Sato has a Doctorate of Management in Organizational Leadership, and holds a Project Management Professional (PMP) certification. Sharing her knowledge and helping others extends beyond her professional reach as she has been an active volunteer with the Project Management Institute (PMI) Honolulu Chapter for over 10 years and has served as Director of Academic Outreach and Liaison to the PMI Educational Foundation since 2016.
“No matter where you go, chances are you’re leading a project or supporting a project,” said Joslyn. For our Month of PMI, we sat down with Joslyn to discuss why project management skills are crucial for today’s students.
Learning Over Recitation
Project-based learning techniques go all the way back to philosophers in ancient Greece but are just as applicable in today’s classroom. By utilizing project based learning, students are more likely to retain their knowledge long term. However, project-based learning must be structured effectively if students are to reap the benefits. Researchers have found several characteristics of effective project-based learning curriculum:
- A realistic problem
- Structured group work
- Multi-faceted assessments
- Participation in a professional learning network
These characteristics can be built into a course when proper project management skills are incorporated, helping students learn more effectively and retain their knowledge long term. “Applying project management makes school less stressful, it brings better outcomes, and students can actually focus on learning, rather than just their final grade,” commented Joslyn.
Skills and Resources to Go Beyond the Classroom
Every teacher wants their work in the classroom to help students in the real world. In addition to mastery of your course curriculum, project management is one of the best skills you can give your students. Joslyn says, “Projects are everywhere, even in your personal life. If you have a home renovation, that’s a project! Keeping the construction team on task and budget requires all the skills of a project manager. Plus, I use these skills with my own children. My son struggles with school projects, and completely shuts down with so many requirements or does it right before the due date. I’ve been able to use my skills to develop a very simple system to help make his workload more concrete and manageable. The whole point of learning is to help students feel that they’re making progress, that they’re improving, that they’re successful. With project management skills in my toolbelt, I’ve been able to help students be successful with their school projects while instilling practical career readiness skills.”
In addition to making life more manageable, project management can connect students to a community full of resources and support. PMI has created the Project Management Institute Educational Foundation, to provide services to young people around the world, including a network of project management professionals, scholarship opportunities, and engaging activities to help students learn project management and achieve their dreams.
Students can use their project management skills in their personal lives, and in their future careers. According to reports from Burning Glass, nearly 2.3 million job postings in the last year have requested project management skills, which is great news for teachers looking to help their students find jobs immediately upon graduation. Plus, project management instills additional skills such as time management, communication, and teamwork, all soft skills that are highly demanded by today’s employers.
However, listing a skill on a resume often isn’t enough to get in the door, especially for young professionals without a lot of experience. Joslyn’s situation is just one example. “I earned my Project Management Professional (PMP) certification early in my career. I was already using the skills, but I didn’t have the credential. Once I became certified, it really opened the door because it built my credibility and exposed me to the professional network. More employers were willing to consider my application for Project Manager roles, and so I was able to get more experience earlier on in my career than I would have otherwise.”
Helping students earn an industry-recognized credential can make all the difference when they launch into their career.
Interested in learning more about bringing project management curriculum in your classroom? Learn more here. And, as a thank you for your participation in our Month of PMI program, PMI has offered access to Kickoff. Kickoff is a free, 45-minute digital course and tool kit that guides anyone doing project-based work in launching successful projects from start to finish. Learn more here.