According to a late 2022 survey conducted by YouScience (an aptitude-based guidance platform for learners), three-quarters of high school graduates do not feel prepared to make college or career decisions. A Salesforce survey found only 11 percent of college students feel very prepared to enter the workforce.
In a Charles Koch Foundation (CKF)-sponsored webinar, journalist and author Jeff Selingo asked panelists how to improve the learning-to-work pipeline. Parker Dewey Founder and CEO Jeffrey Moss, AdvanceEDU CEO Lauren Trent, and Northern Virginia Community College President Anne Kress discussed topics like transfer pathways, support services, and micro-internships.
Micro-internships help companies identify and evaluate prospective job candidates for full-time needs, improving retention for employers and job stability for earners.
“The process itself from college to career is fundamentally broken,” Moss said. “If you can give learners … opportunities to work on real, professional projects along the way, then, almost Socraticly, you can build that appreciation for how those skills translate.”
AdvanceEDU’s Trent said one problem with the current learning-to-work pipeline is that too many people believe they cannot simultaneously work and acquire new skills. “If we really want to reach out and allow paths to higher education for a much broader array of students, we have to make changes to how education is delivered to accommodate the student who wants to earn and learn at the same time,” she explained.
AdvanceEDU accomplishes this task by working with community-based partners to design academic delivery models, including flexible competency-based learning programs, that prioritize the employer-employee relationship. AdvanceEDU also provides wraparound services, including mental health support, to learners.
Kress said Northern Virginia Community College has leveraged community organizations, including food banks that deliver groceries to students, to support learners. “You don’t need to pick up this book of businesses and try to run with it yourself,” Kress said. “You can partner with someone in the community.”
Listen to the full conversation. Click here to find the transcript of a conversation between CKF Executive Director Ryan Stowers and Aspire Ability’s Dr. Jon Mott that also was part of Jeff Selingo’s webinar.