"Rethinking Risk" issue (August)
A newsletter (for adults) about career-readiness (for kids).
This month, I’ve been thinking a lot about what we deem “risky” when it comes to helping kids prepare for the future. The well-beaten and traditional paths of 2- and 4-year degrees have historically been seen as less risky. But are they? What about pursuing non-degree options? That route is painted — and widely perceived — as risky, but what do young people and employers really think? We wanted to find out, so we teamed up with Jobs for the Future (JFF) and commissioned research about the perceptions Gen Z and employers hold about pathways from education to the workforce. The main takeaway of our joint report is this: Gen Z youth and employers still largely fear straying from the degree; they think it’s risky. Yet, there seems to be an encouraging change on the horizon as more and more people are starting to seek new ways to learn and new ways to earn.
This month, as kids head back to school, I invite you to join me in making a concerted effort to change the way we talk to them about the path ahead. They need to know all of their options; not just which colleges they can get into and what SAT or ACT score they need. Success isn’t just a degree. The biggest risk facing kids today is that they leave school without having learned about themselves, their passions, and their purpose.
Non-Degree Pathways Interest Employers and Gen Z, But They Still View Them as Too Risky
The Story: Fifty-eight percent of Gen Z youth surveyed believe companies should hire more graduates who have pursued non-degree education pathways. Sixty-eight percent of employers agree that organizations should proactively hire those from non-degree pathways. But 37% of youth think employers are biased towards degree-holders, and most “white collar” employers still see the degree as a safety net.
The Bottom Line: We know that, for many people, non-degree pathways carry less risk than traditional higher education. Employers and young people alike would like to know more about these options, or even pursue them. Still, without stronger body of research into the efficacy and return-on-investment of non-degree pathways, the needle will remain unmoved. That’s about to change, thanks to a number of organizations convening to conduct vital research into how these pathways can help kids succeed. This paper, from ASA and JFF, is an important stake in the ground.
We Need to Start Talking About Trade Careers in High School
The Story: This piece from Newsweek gives an important firsthand perspective on the trades. Marissa shares of her experience that, “My PIA tuition, including the cost of materials, came to about $16,000 after grants and scholarships. I paid it with the help of $9,000 in student loans, which I have already fully repaid. But if I had gone to a four-year in-state college for a Bachelor's Degree, I would've paid closer to $10,000 per year, or $40,000 overall—and that total wouldn't have included the additional cost of room and board or other expenses.”
The Bottom Line: Teaching kids about a wide variety of options, like the high-caliber aviation maintenance program that Marissa writes about in this piece, will help them make fact-based decisions about their education and career. The sooner those conversations start, the better.
Employers are Valuing Skills Over Degrees: Here Are The Highest Paying Jobs That Don’t Require a College Degree (Research from Harvard Business School)
COVID-19 Learning Lags Could Reverse Narrowed Achievement Gap (A study published in Education Next research journal)
A Growing Number of Americans are Questioning the Value of Going to College (Research from New America)
Gap Between Students’ Aptitudes and Their Career Interests Focus of New Report (Research from YouScience)
How Do You Move Bees? Solution from Franklin Lake Students Won Their School $10,000 (NorthJersey.com, August, 2020)
Impatient for Workers, Businesses Help Students Take College Shortcuts (Hechinger Report, July 29, 2022)
N.H. is Expanding Paid Internships Program for High School Students (NHPR, August 8, 2022)
Best Trade School Jobs: Top Options for 2022 (ZDNet, July 27, 2022)
As Employers Rightsize Job Requirements, Apprenticeships Are Replacing College Degrees (Forbes, August 1, 2022)
JFF Awarded $5 Million in U.S. Department of Labor Funding to Scale Registered Apprenticeships for School-Age Youth (Cision/PR Newswire, August 8, 2022)
Nonprofit Organization Offers Internships to San Diego High School Students (ABC 10 News San Diego, August 5, 2022)
Developing Career Clarity in High School (a Podcast) (Getting Smart, July 13, 2022)
Companies Move to Drop College Degree Requirements for New Hires; Focus on Skills (Computer World, August 10, 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.
The Critical Need for Career Exploration Beyond the Classroom - See the session recap here
The State We’re In: Career Readiness in America – Watch the presentation here
Unbundled Learning and How to Rebundle Pathways – Watch the presentation here
”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