Fueling desirable change through lifelong learning

Thomas L. Keon

Depending on how “change” is defined, career development experts tell us that American workers can expect to change jobs, employers or careers between three and 12 times during their life.

Reasons for such change can and do include new or increased responsibilities; new, restructured or evolving jobs and employers; cutting edge technology-driven initiatives; entrepreneurial decisions; and newly acquired and developed interests.

Passively accept it or proactively drive it

With another academic year underway, I am reminded that regardless of how we define “change” or the manner in which our employment changes, we either can passively accept change, or we can proactively drive it. And for the latter to occur, unquestionably, education and lifelong learning come into play.

Students from various backgrounds enroll at Purdue Calumet for various reasons. Though many come with pre-determined interests, the education they receive here also tends to open doors that prompt other interests—interests that frequently lead them in new, exciting, passionate and inspiring directions.

One of the beauties of lifelong learning is that it is perpetually beneficial. Whether we learn to better understand the present from a study of history or new technologies poised to fuel emerging jobs and careers of tomorrow, those who commit to lifelong learning position themselves to drive their own bus down the road of job and career change.

Learning to think critically

The intent of higher education has never been that of providing a reservoir of knowledge, but, rather, how to access that reservoir. Higher education’s primary value lies with its success in teaching students to think critically, thereby equipping them to learn how to learn.

For graduates who leave Purdue Calumet with critical thinking skills that enable them to learn how to learn throughout their lives, their ability to gain endless knowledge is, well, endless. So is their ability to get where they want to go throughout our fast-changing work world.


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Thomas L. Keon,