If your New Year’s resolutions are like mine, most will have a “shelf life” shorter than holiday eggnog — turning sour and forgotten within days of Jan. 1. But 2022 needs to be different, because the old year we’re leaving has been so filled with uncertainty and insecurities. New Year’s Eve has always been a time to resolve for new beginnings, but meaningful, and lasting, resolutions have never been more needed than now.
After so many months of pandemic challenges, it’s high time for New Year’s resolutions that matter. Each of us needs to make resolutions that will pay off with long-term dividends and give us the most rewarding return on our investments of time, money and effort. For many working-age Ohioans that will mean a commitment to upgrading their education and career skills, because these are the lasting tools that will advance an existing career or open paths to a new one. Upskilling your education is the perfect target for a truly meaningful New Year’s resolution.
As you consider your resolutions for a better 2022, think about where you are in your career and where you would like to be. Then, think about the steps you need to take in order to move closer to those goals. What better way to ring in 2022 than by resolving to gain new skills or a new degree to increase your career prospects and earning power? And what better way to prepare yourself for success in an increasingly competitive job market where technical skills and advanced training are more essential than ever before?
Every day, from my vantage point as a university chancellor, I see the way thousands of Ohioans are already doing that by preparing for new or upgraded careers in the most in-demand fields like health care and nursing, business, teaching and information technology. Fortunately, we live in a state with a wide array of accredited universities and community colleges that offer these pathways to success. Some, like my own institution — Western Governors University Ohio — are expressly designed for the needs of adult learners who have full-time jobs and family obligations, but who nevertheless have resolved to earn their accredited bachelor’s or master’s degrees as a way to move ahead in their careers.
For most busy Ohioans, finding time to commit to additional education may be hard to imagine, but it’s more possible than ever before thanks to a multitude of higher-education resources available in Ohio — including financial aid and counseling support — providing the flexibility, independence and affordability that today’s students need.
A life-changing commitment to career-focused higher education is just the right thing for a New Year’s resolution and a fresh start with your existing work or a new career altogether. As one year ends and the next begins, regardless of the resolutions we make or break, what remains unchanged is that opportunities exist for those with the ambition, resilience and ability to seize them.
K. L. Allen is chancellor of WGU Ohio, the state affiliate of online, nonprofit Western Governors University.