PivotED - "Knowledge is Power" Issue - (June)
A newsletter (for adults) about career readiness (for kids).
Our research tells us that while employers and students say that non-degree pathways can be a proxy for signaling quality, many agree that they need more information than they have today. Without that information and without an understanding of the value and utility non-degree education and credentials can offer, people are hesitant to take what may seem like a risk.
On the other hand, we are learning that these options do provide value, they do give people the skills needed to hit the job running, and they can form the basis of a postsecondary path that sets a person up for lifelong career success. But maybe most important is this: those opportunities can create equitable access to earning potential, doing away with the outdated idea that only a select few people who have degrees are capable or worthy enough to work in “good” jobs.
So, how do we square the fear of the unknown with the incredibly exciting opportunity to give more people access to economic prosperity that we know non-degree options can unlock? The answer is twofold: through continued research into their efficacy, and through making sure kids, parents, educators and employers understand that efficacy and the value. Because kids can’t pursue what they don’t know exists, and it’s our job to light the way. I hope you will enjoy my roundup of news stories, research and thoughts from June.
“If you have knowledge, let others light their candles in it.” - Margaret Fuller (Teacher, Journalist, Women’s Rights Activist)
President & CEO,
American Student Assistance
Boot Camp Grads Nearly 4x Happier with Jobs After Graduation
The Story: A new study of boot camp graduates, conducted by Gallup and 2U, suggests that in addition to being linked to higher incomes and a quick return on investment, boot camp programs also have the capacity to set students on the path toward a fulfilling career. After graduation, respondents who graduated from 2U-powered boot camps -- intensive, full-time or part-time non-degree programs that teach students in-demand tech skills -- were nearly four times as satisfied with their current jobs as they were with the jobs they had before their boot camp.
The Bottom Line: There’s power in experiences that combine theoretical learning with hands-on learning. There’s even more power when people come together to learn, and when there’s a “fail fast and learn quick” mentality. This study — and others like it — are putting a mark of efficacy on something that’s been around a while, saying to the world “the boot camp model can be every bit as viable as traditional higher education for getting people ready to work…and maybe even more so.”
Gen Z Have Little Time for a Four-Year Degree
The Story: Many in Gen Z watched their parents and older Millennial acquaintances follow the college path, but rather than it leading to prosperity, as promised, for many it meant delays in being able to afford a home, build a family, or save for retirement. As a result, many Gen Z-ers are bucking the idea of a traditional education path. As of January 2022, only 51% of Gen Z teens are interested in pursuing a four-year degree, down from 71% in May 2020, according to a recent study by ECMC Group.
The Bottom Line: This study is in-line with what we at ASA have been learning about the growing willingness of teens to think “outside the degree”. We know college degrees have heaps of utility for many people and will continue to do so. We know they have changed lives. But…the tides are changing and there can no longer be just one version of success. As Gen Z youth look to explore their options, we and others are committed to helping them find their path…degree or no degree.
Student Debt But No Degree: Millions of Americans Struggle in Limbo
This is a great read from Teen Vogue as part of their 2022 Economic Security Project Fellowship. It details that "an estimated 38.6% of the 43 million student debtors in the United States — roughly 16.6 million people — have debt but no degree six years after first entering college, according to National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) data analyzed by the Hope Center’s Mark Huelsman. Much of the public debate around student debt cancellation focuses on competing narratives about who would most benefit from such a policy: a multiracial, multigenerational population of working-class graduates, or an already wealthy, affluent group of middle-to-upper-class young professionals? In both instances, a completed degree is assumed. And yet, the millions of debtors with tens of thousands in outstanding loans, but without the diploma that (supposedly) statistically ensures an upwardly mobile life — what about them?”
The Bottom Line: Traditional higher education changes some lives for the better, without a doubt. Telling kids that it’s the pinnacle of success for decades, though, has created a situation in which too many are going without a full understanding of what it entails, what the risks are, and what the return-on-investment might be in their chosen line of work. The results of that myth, unfortunately, speak for themselves. It’s high time for a change in favor of equity, broader access to opportunity, and options that set people up for a comfortable adulthood.
Schools Seek to Strengthen Work-Based Learning Opportunities (Research from American Student Assistance)
In the Midst of the Great Resignation, Here’s What Keeps Millennials and Gen Z Workers in Their Seats (A report from Deloitte)
Head Start Program Provides Opportunities to Break Cycle of Poverty Across Generations (A study from Notre Dame University and Texas A&M University)
Undergraduate Enrollment Falls 662,000 Students in Spring 2022 and 1.4 Million During the Pandemic (A report from the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center)
Careers Being Explored by Today’s Young People (Research from American Student Assistance)
How Can Middle School Leaders Ease the Transition to High School? (K-12 Dive, June 22, 2022)
Best Practice in Youth Work-Based Learning Support Access for Underserved Students (ASA Newsroom, June 6, 2022)
SCOTUS: Public Funds Can Be Used for Religious Instruction (K-12 Dive, June 21, 2022)
American Student Assistance Announces Winners of the 2022 ASA Solve Together Digital Career Exploration Challenges (ASA Newsroom, June 6, 2022)
The Benefits, Stress of Taking AP Classes (U.S. News & World Report, June 24, 2022)
Hollister Announces Teen Creative Incubator Program & Hollister FWD Fund (Market Screener, June 1, 2022)
Below you’ll find recaps of recent thought leadership events and panels featuring experts from across the education and career readiness ecosystem. The events below cover such topics as Gen Z career learning, professional development for educators, and non-degree pathways.
”Amplifying High-Quality, Non-Degree Pathways” - Watch the presentation here
“Gen Z Career Learning is About Agency, Voice and Choice” - Watch the presentation here
“Educator PD: Key to Increasing Student Achievement” - Watch the presentation here