This week’s announcement of U.S. Department of Labor’s $100 million Youth CareerConnect initiative is exciting news for our nation’s high school students, employers, and communities.
At Jobs for the Future, we believe all high schools can benefit from partnering with employers, colleges, and the workforce system to build seamless pathways through college and into technical careers. And thanks to funding from Youth CareerConnect, 25 to 40 school districts will soon join this growing movement.
For over 10 years, we have seen students excel in early college high schools that enable them to earn up to two years of free college credit or an Associate’s degree. These schools engage, support, and challenge all students—especially low-income and first-generation college goers—to pursue higher education, with excellent results.
We also see promising employer/high school partnerships nationwide, including:
- Carrollton, Georgia’s 12 for Life program (supported by Southwire, a leading wire manufacturer) where students have access to classroom instruction, on-the-job training and certificates, skill development, and employment opportunities.
- West Springfield, Massachusetts’ Pathways to Prosperity project, where students pursue careers in advanced manufacturing on pathways that connect West Springfield High School with Springfield Technical Community College and local manufacturers.
- And of course, Brooklyn’s well known P-TECH Early College High School.
We need more of these partnerships in this country to help ALL young people succeed in today’s economy and to address America’s skilled worker shortage. Youth CareerConnect can help provide a boost we need to ensure quality pathways to postsecondary credentials and high-demand careers.
Marlene B. Seltzer is President/CEO of Jobs for the Future