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Op-Ed: The United States needs career-connected learning to help high school graduates get jobs

August 22, 2019


Op-Ed in the Stanford Social Innovation Review: The United States needs career-connected learning to help high school graduates get jobs

Co-authored with Abigail Smith

At a time when unemployment is close to generational lows, it’s easy to forget that dramatic advances in technology are rapidly transforming the labor market. As many as 40 million US jobs could be lost to automation over the next two decades, according to Bain & Company research, and the positions that replace them will have very different requirements.

Preparing our young people for this massive transition is among the biggest challenges the US education system faces. Yet, too few students are being prepared to work in jobs that offer promising, productive futures. While roughly 70 percent of jobs require a degree or credential after high school, the US Department of Education estimates that only about 40 percent of US students entering 10th grade go on to earn either a two-year or four-year postsecondary degree. In other words, the current system risks leaving the majority of our young people behind.

We can solve this problem by creating more pathways for more students beyond high school. Maximizing opportunity for all young people will require something more—something like a system similar to the one we’re building in the state of Washington that augments the traditional study-then-work educational system with a broader, more inclusive study-and-work approach to learning.

Read the full op-ed here.

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Tara Lee
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