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Gig economy curriculum for adult basic skills learners?

 

     Hello LINCS Colleagues,

     Below are two important questions that you may be able to help me with:

1. Do your students work in the "gig economy"? That is, do they have part-time or full-time work without benefits, but with work schedules over which they have some control? For example Lyft or Uber drivers, self-employed landscaping businesses, etc. If so, what are the gig economy jobs they have, and in what state?

2. Do you use, or know of, a curriculum suitable for adult basic skills (including English language) learners that addresses opportunities and risks in "gig economy" work?

Reply here, or to me privately.  Thanks!

David J. Rosen

djrosen123@gmail.com

 

 

Tags: gig economy

Comments

Michael Cruse's picture
One hundred

If you're like me, you have more podcasts than you have time to listen to them all.  One that I recently listened to brought me back to this post, to share.  It's a podcast called, How to Money.  Specifically, episode #35, "Creating a Dope Side Hustle", from September 5th, 2018, talks about the gig economy, and the differences between different types of gigs within that economy.  As it turns out, they are not all created equal.  While this isn't a curriculum, per se, it sets out the foundation for a class to explore the subject more deeply, and possibly draw some very personal conclusions about what value these jobs hold for people, at different times in their life.  

I hesitate to say the gig economy is all good, or bad.  Instead, I think it's all in making informed decisions at the individual level.  I think that this podcast, and very likely others that may do an even better job, could be used to help learners examine their own needs, and options, and then make the best choices for themselves. 

Mike Cruse

Career Pathways Moderator

michaelcruse74@gmail.com

David J. Rosen's picture
One hundred

Thanks, Mike for your podcast suggestion.

I am surprised that I haven't had other responses. What does this mean?

  • That very few teachers and school/program administrators in the Career Pathways group noticed or read the post?
  • That people who read the post don't know if their students are working in the gig economy? (If not, should they? If so, why; if not, why not?)
  • That no one has come across a curriculum of skills for working in the gig economy?
  • That the gig economy is irrelevant to career pathways (is it? I wonder how many adult learners enrolled in IET and other career pathways programs are supporting themselves with jobs in the gig economy while they are students. Do you know?  Has anyone here seen any data on this?
  • Even if one is on a successful career path, what happens when one's company isn't doing well and a layoff is imminent, or has already been announced? What happens during a massive layoff or furlough of government jobs, including good career jobs? Is navigating the gig economy an important set of skills for these scenarios as one takes steps to get another job or to be called back to work? Should we be teaching those skills as part of preparing learners for gap periods in successful careers?

I hope we hear from more people on the relationship of the gig economy to career pathways. And if someone finds a good gig economy curriculum, please let us know about it..

David J. Rosen

Michael Cruse's picture
One hundred

David, I think the gig economy is very relevant to career pathways.  However, I'd add a perspective here that there may not be a 'curriculum of skills for working in the gig economy' because these skills aren't unique from other career/job skills.  What is unique - in my opinion - is the learning curve around engaging in the sharing economy.  It's not unlike if an adult learner who has done custodial work for many years thinks that they want to transition to working in hospitality.  They are both career fields, with unique circumstances that the individual needs to understand to make an informed decision, before investing their time and resources into entering the field.  I think these are more conversations than curriculum pieces.  That is what struck me when listening to the podcast I mentioned.  I'll be curious if you, or others, have thoughts if you listen to it.

Best,

Mike Cruse

Career Pathways Moderator

michaelcruse74@gmail.com

 

Julia Crawford's picture
First

 

 

megandichter's picture
First

This is an interesting discussion. I wonder if there is a real difference between a curriculum on gig economy and one that is focused on entrepreneurship.One could argue that those who work in the gig economy are entrepreneurs.  I did find this resource  https://www.udemy.com/the-gig-economy-preparation-guide/ a Udemy online course for a fee. 

Michael Cruse's picture
One hundred

Thank you, Megan, for sharing this gig-related course with us.  While I haven't registered for the course, I did view the short introductory video about what is covered in the course.  It provides some interesting food for thought about what a gig economy curriculum might include.  I've chosen several that stuck out to me as particularly valuable for adult learners.

  • How to see through the way the on-demand gig economy is promoted
  • The importance of personal accountability in the gig economy
  • How to identify its individual elements to more confidently choose which option works best for you
  • How to determine your gigging skills
  • The business aspects of gigging

The course creator also includes the four sections of the course, which begins with questioning the gig economy, and looking at its impact on the workforce.  The next two sections include defining the gig economy, and finally, 'becoming a gigger'.  What do others think about a framework for introducing the concept to adult learners?  It would be interesting to compare other examples to see what is being considered as a basis for understanding this new market.

Best,

Mike Cruse

Career Pathways Moderator

michaelcruse74@gmail.com

Paul Rogers's picture
One hundred

David et al - many of my students work in jobs that could be characterized as gig economy jobs. For example, houseclearning, gardening - and day labor. I keep them busy with Englsh lessons on the smart phone and encourage them to listen to a song we are "studying" while they are working.

Actually - one of my students works as a gardener for Oprah Winfrey. He told me he listens to songs and actual lessons on the phone while he mows the grass.

 

David J. Rosen's picture
One hundred

In a Florida Literacy Coalition webinar today I learned about these "Gig economy" lessons from GCFLearn Free https://edu.gcfglobal.org/en/freelance-work/

What do you think of these?

David J. Rosen

 

 

Michael Cruse's picture
One hundred

I'm glad to see an example of a 'gig economy' curriculum.  Thanks for sharing it, David.  I think they've done a good job of laying out the basics of freelance and shared economy jobs, which they categorize under this umbrella term.  The Pros and Cons video scratches the surface of a lot of the differences between gigs and full-time and part-time employment.  While the images reflect a more white-collar working demographic, the information presented is still valuable for a wider population of learners.  I'd like to see some examples of how a worker might compare opportunities in the traditional and gig economies, so that they have a model for making these multi-faceted comparisons for themselves.  I'm curious if something like that exists?  However, this may best be left up to instructors and learners to have those conversations, using graphic organizers, or pro- and con- lists to make individual decisions that work for learners' current situations.

Mike Cruse

Career Pathways Moderator

michaelcruse74@gmail.com

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