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National Survey Results Support “Bringing Back Home Ec”

Robinson Secondary School Students

(L to R): Eriq Ibar, Jesus Vializ, Jorge Fuentes, and Alan Duran,
family and consumer sciences students at Robinson Secondary School,
Fairfax, Va., prepare a Tuscan vegetable soup with kale.

Alexandria, Va – November 20, 2013 – Results of the National Association of Colleges and Employers’ Job Outlook 2014 survey lend more support to "bringing back home economics," a national discussion that was kicked off last month by a Good Morning America segment and articles in the Wall Street Journal and Boston Globe. Job Outlook 2014 shows that the skills taught in family and consumer sciences (home economics) secondary classes are among those most valued by employers.

According to the Job Outlook 2014 survey, participants rated "ability to work in a team structure," "ability to make decisions and solve problems," "ability to plan, organize, and prioritize work," and "ability to verbally communicate with persons inside and outside the organization" as the most important candidate skills/qualities. These skills, highly valued by employers, are among the essential life and career skills taught in family and consumer sciences. More survey information is available at www.naceweb.org/s10022013/job-outlook-skills-quality.aspx.

Family and consumer sciences classes provide students the opportunity to explore and prepare for a variety of careers, including culinary, education, early childhood, fashion design and merchandising, tourism and hospitality, consumer studies, and many human services-related careers. Students learn a number of essential skills, such as promoting nutrition and wellness; becoming responsible citizens and leaders; managing resources and finances; balancing personal and work lives; and thinking critically and creatively to address problems. Read this fact sheet to learn more about family and consumer sciences classes.

Data from another national survey, which will soon be published in the Journal of Family & Consumer Sciences, demonstrate the reach that family and consumer sciences classes have nationwide. Carol Werhan, PhD, family and consumer sciences associate professor at Pittsburg State University, Kansas, compiled data from 2010 through 2012. Dr. Werhan found that all states offer family and consumer sciences secondary (6th – 12th grade) courses and nearly one-fifth (more than 3 million) of all U.S. secondary students had taken a family and consumer sciences course.

The proportion of male to female students in middle schools was evenly divided by gender, and the ratio of male to female students at the high school level was 35% to 65%, respectively. With a high percentage of dual-career families, more adults living alone, and a significant rise in the number of single fathers, the findings on gender ratios in family and consumer sciences classes reflect the increased need for both males and females to learn essential life skills.

"Now that more people are aware of and experiencing health, personal finance, and employment challenges in this country, they are recognizing the positive impact that family and consumer sciences classes have had and could have on the next generation," said Carolyn W. Jackson, CFCS, AAFCS executive director. "It’s not too late to make it a priority to teach all of our students the essential skills they need to be successful in work and life."

About the American Association of Family & Consumer Sciences (AAFCS)
Based in the Washington, D.C., area, AAFCS is the only association for family and consumer sciences students and professionals across multiple practice settings and content areas. For more than 100 years, AAFCS has focused its mission on providing leadership and support for professionals whose work assists individuals, families, and communities in making more informed decisions about their well-being, relationships, and resources to achieve optimal quality of life. AAFCS members provide research-based knowledge about the topics of everyday life to help create healthy and sustainable families. These topics include human development, personal and family finance, housing and interior design, food science, nutrition and wellness, textiles and apparel, and consumer issues. AAFCS members are located nationwide, and include educators, administrators and managers, human service and business professionals, researchers, community volunteers, and consultants who develop research-based information and deliver programs on essential skills to help individuals and families be better prepared to live, work, and succeed in today’s complex and diverse world.
About the Field of Family & Consumer Sciences
Family and consumer sciences draws from broad and diverse disciplines to develop and provide content and programs that help individuals become more effective critical thinkers and problem solvers.  Through discovery and delivery of research-based knowledge, family and consumer scientists help individuals and families develop essential skills to successfully live and work in a complex world. These professionals are uniquely qualified to address many critical issues affecting individuals and families, such as maintaining a healthy lifestyle, wisely managing personal and family finances, and creating supportive relationships with family members, friends, and co-workers.  They are located nationwide in a variety of practice settings, including secondary schools, universities, government agencies, and businesses.
For more information, please contact:
Gwynn Mason
AAFCS Director of Communications
Source: The Center for Education Reform. (2010). K-12 Facts. Retrieved from http://www.edreform.com/2012/04/k-12-facts/