"Informed Choices" issue (May)
According to our research, two-thirds of current high schoolers and graduates say they would have benefited from more career exploration in middle or high school. At ASA, we’ve done a lot of work to understand how kids can get connected to information about the available pathways that are out there — beyond college. We’ve invested a lot of time and energy to learn what really works in terms of getting kids playing an active role in planning their future. And one thing that consistently comes back is the reality that kids need to be engaged in their own spaces and on their own terms. Importantly, they need to have agency and be able to make informed choices.
To that end, our new EvolveMe™ platform helps kids ages 13-18 by letting them explore, experiment with careers, and complete tasks — offered in partnership with ASA’s innovative partners — that advance their career interests. For example, the Talk Hiring initiative lets kids learn how to interview with confidence by completing automated mock interviews and getting instant feedback. UStrive enables teens to find and meet with a mentor. Create & Learn lets kids learn Scratch and Python coding through online courses with real professionals while completing project-based learning experiences. In the EvolveMe™ platform, kids can track their progress and accomplishments, and earn points to redeem a variety of rewards.
We’re excited about this launch and about any initiative that promises to get kids feeling a sense of ownership over their education, work experience, and future. The data certainly shows that they need it. This month, read on for the latest roundup of news and thought leadership from around the world of career readiness and join me in celebrating a growing awareness of the importance of choice.
If you’d like to reach me directly, I’d love to hear from you. Email me at email@example.com.
P.S. - Here’s my pick of the month!
Deirdre Higgins poses a critical question in K-12 Dive: "Why have we given our students no other option but to pursue a college degree as if this is the only means for personal and financial success? Why do we devalue other life choices?" It is precisely this question that drives me in my quest at ASA to expand career learning, well before kids are about to graduate from high school. Broadening our collective horizons about what success looks like does many things, but the most important thing it does is give kids a better chance to step into the world with preparation and confidence!
This article offers advice to graduating seniors who are perhaps less certain about the road ahead. Don’t compare yourself to others. Talk to a guidance counselor, even if it feels like it’s too late. Check out the many apprenticeship programs out there. Consider a trade or vocational training program. Sign up for a work-based learning opportunity in school or in the summer. The stigmas surrounding many of these non-degree options are outdated and misaligned to the reality: that kids can and do thrive, even when college isn’t part of the plan.
The Bottom Line: High school graduation season is upon us. The best favor we can do the many, many kids who are leaving school into what may feel like a vacuum of unknowns is to help them understand that the world doesn’t end with college acceptance or rejection letters.
Surveys: Educators Approve of ChatGPT for K-12, College (A nationwide study from Impact Research)
50-State Comparison: Transfer and Articulation Policies (Research from the Education Commission of the States)
More NAEP Declines: Scores Drop for 8th Graders on U.S. History, Civics Tests (Data from the National Assessment of Educational Progress, reported by K-12 Dive)
The Impact of Creativity on College and Career Readiness (A research-based article from EdSurge, sponsored by Adobe for Education)
New, Free Digital Experience Offers All Students Invaluable Career Readiness Opportunities (eschoolnews.com, April 19, 2023)
The Key to Better Education and Career Decisions? Work Experience — in High School (WorkShift, May 3, 2023)
Amazon Surprises Prince George’s County STEM Students with $40k Future Engineer Scholarships (Fox5 Washington DC, April 19, 2023)
Youth Work-based Learning is Tough to Scale. Big Picture Learning is Changing That. (Medium.com, May 11, 2023)
Nebraska Governor Pillen Attends GISH Apprenticeship Signing (Local 4 News, April 27, 2023)
Trade Programs — Unlike Other Areas of Higher Education — are in Hot Demand (The Hechinger Report, April 17, 2023)
A Philadelphia School is Betting on Internships to Increase Student Interest in Careers (Trainers Adda, May 2, 2023)
ASA Awards $10 Million for Career Pathways and Work-based Learning (Philanthropy News Digest, April 17, 2023)
Southern Illinois High School Entrepreneurs Showcase Business (The Southern Illinoisan, April 27, 2023)
Below is a list of upcoming panel discussions and detailed recaps of recent presentations that elevate critical conversations in the youth career readiness space.
SMU+GSV Mission Summit (Dallas - May 22-24, 2023)
American Student Assistance (ASA), in collaboration with Getting Smart, will host 10 panel presentations that elevate critical conversations in the youth career readiness space, during the inaugural SMU+GSV Summit. The event will be held on the SMU campus and will attract a diverse group of education stakeholders including entrepreneurs, investors, leaders from business, academia, government, and nonprofits.
Presentations curated by ASA and Getting Smart will focus on the topics of the effective collaboration between employers and entrepreneurship educators, and leveraging high school work-based learning to build talent pipelines. Click the link above to learn more.
JFF Horizons (New Orleans - June 14-15, 2023)
“Horizons, presented by Jobs for the Future, is the premier national platform for ideas and action to drive equitable economic advancement for all.”
American Student Assistance (ASA), Getting Smart, and Jobs for the Future (JFF), have collaborated to curate a career readiness learning track to elevate high school intentional pathways, as well as change the mindset about diverse postsecondary pathways that include non-degree options. At this year’s conference, we will provide a forum for how these groups can work collaboratively to make high school students workforce and postsecondary education ready.
Join us for panel presentations that will focus on the topics of “Disrupting the Status Quo: Redesigning Our Education-to-Workforce Approach”; “The Crossroads of the Future of Education, the Future of Higher Ed, and the Future of Workforce Development: Where Are We Headed?”; “New Models Blend High School, Higher Ed, and Workforce Development”; “Employers Leading the Way in High School Work-based Learning”; and “Verifying Skill Competency: Non-traditional Learning Paths.”
Learn more about these panel presentations. We hope to see you there.
Paving the Way for Pathways: Connecting Local Schools and Businesses (Tacoma - October 19-21, 2023)
If Not a Degree, Then What? Verifying Candidates in a Skills-Based Hiring Framework (A recap of a SXSW EDU panel presentation)
Engaging Employers in High School Work-based Learning (A recap of a SXSW EDU panel presentation)