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"Where Passion Meets Purpose" issue (December)
A newsletter (for adults) about career readiness (for kids).
This year, we at ASA chose to invest in research that would help us better understand Gen Z’s attitudes and behaviors around activism. What social issues do they care about? What gets their blood pumping? What kind of changes do they want to see in the world? How does their interest in social causes influence their career decisions?
We found that Gen Z youth are passionate about an array of causes, and they feel most powerful when they are advocating for mental health, racial justice, gender equality, and LGBTQ+ issues in particular. I will admit that it gives me great hope for the future that young people are rallying around such important topics.
Still, we wanted to know— do Gen Z youth have the information they need, and do they understand the avenues available to them in order to turn their passion into purpose? Those answers are less clear. It seems there is much work to be done to help Gen Z teens and young adults discover the sheer power they possess to drive change.
I’m excited to share our research (below) and invite you to read this month’s roundup of news, research, and events with the same sense of optimism I feel about 2023. The past three years have presented an array of challenges none of us could have anticipated. Yet, our research gives me hope that the future is in good hands, and that among the most important things adults can do for young people today is helping them channel their powerful skills, talents, and ambitions via experiences that will not only help them succeed, but also build a better world.
Happy holidays to you and your loved ones, and here’s to a bright and exciting 2023 ahead!
Nonprofit Survey Unveils Gen Z Insights Into Advocating for Top Issues and Causes
The Story: ASA research showed that that three in 10 teens feel they don't have enough information to make change or have the tools they need to make change on topics they care about. Over half of the teens said that their friends (54%) and social media (52%) provide them with information and inspiration about the causes they care most about. Middle schoolers (45%), early high schoolers (38%), and late high schoolers (40%) said that celebrities, athletes, or other influencers provide them with information and inspiration about the causes they care about. The survey also revealed that a quarter of teens say the causes they are interested in have highly influenced their career choices. On a scale from 1 to 10, teens rate the degree to which their interest in social causes influenced their career choice at a 6, with over 1 in 4 (26%) rating this influence at 8 or above.
The Bottom Line: Understanding specific causes Gen Z cares about is an important piece of the puzzle. Yet, too many young people don’t feel their voices are being heard, and many are turning to what can be unreliable sources of information. Through our NextVoice digital advocacy platform (which I wrote about last month), and by helping kids build a foundation in advocacy and career-readiness, we can give them the best shot at effectively learning about, and advocating, for the social issues they care about.
With Virtual Reality, Students Get a Glimpse of Different Careers
The Story: The Hechinger Report takes a look at how VR technology can be used to bring kids “inside” workplaces and let them explore careers. They explain how Boys & Girls clubs chapters in different regions are using VR as a way to reengage students coming out of the pandemic, while tapping into kids’ love of technology and hands-on learning.
The Bottom Line: When kids are 16 and 17, they are a mere 1-2 years away from completing school and starting adult life. This timeframe is far too late to begin thinking about careers. Starting career readiness experiences earlier helps kids get a badly needed head start on understanding the working world. Using tech in an informal learning capacity to deliver those early experiences — like the VR described in this story— makes those experiences even more powerful; even more likely to light a spark of curiosity and inspiration.
High School Graduates Not Prepared for College or Career Decisions, National Survey Finds (A national survey from YouScience)
How do Native American and Indigenous Students Feel About Higher Education Today? (A study from the Nevada Institute on Educator Preparation, Retention and Research)
8 Strategies for Districts Looking to Add or Expand Internship Programs (Data-backed strategies from K-12 Dive)
Later School Start Times are Popular, But What Are the Drawbacks? (An analysis of research by the National Education Association)
Participation in USDA School Meal Program Drops, Federal Survey Shows (Research from the U.S. Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics)
U.S. Department of Education Launches New Initiative to Enhance STEM Education for All Students (U.S. Department of Education Newsroom, December 7, 2022)
Nashville Bet Big on its Career High Schools. What Can Chicago Learn? (Chalkbeat Chicago, December 1, 2022)
Youth Advocacy in the 21st Century (Psychology Today, November 10, 2022)
Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation To Invest $75 Million Towards Post-Secondary Education Readiness (The Seattle Medium, December 7, 2022)
Rocketing to Mars…To Build a New Society (Tacoma Weekly, November 28, 2022)
Grove City Middle School Students Earn Licensing Agreement After Finishing Invention Course and Winning Regional Contest (EINPresswire, November 30, 2022)
Employers Look to Drop Degree Requirements Amid Tight Labor Market (Newsmax, November 27, 2022)
Town Hall Recap: Badging and Credentialing (Getting Smart, December 7, 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.
How We Can Empower Gen Z to Find and Follow Their Passions through Youth-Centered Mentorship - Find the webinar recap and takeaways here
High School Work-Based Learning: An Essential Tool for Career Readiness and Workforce Development - Find the event recap and takeaways here
How We Can Scale Gen Z’s Entrepreneurial Spirit into Fruitful Careers - Find the link to the session recording here
Virtual Panels Identify Best Practices & Considerations for Career Readiness Learning - Find the link to the session recording here
The Critical Need for Career Exploration Beyond the Classroom - See the session recap 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