Corporate Voices for Working Families, through our workforce readiness initiatives, is helping young people succeed in school, on the job and throughout life.

And a new report issued by the Harvard Graduate School of Education addresses these issues and concludes that “rather than simply increase college enrollment, a comprehensive network of pathways to success must be created within the youth development field.”

A timely and informative article in Youth Today, “Even Harvard Agrees: Four-Year Colleges Aren’t for Everyone,” highlights the issues and the report:  Pathways to Prosperity: Meeting the Challenge of Preparing Young Americans for the 21st Century.

Here’s from the Youth Today article by Ben Penn:

The one American college perhaps most synonymous with traditional postsecondary ideals has issued a report championing community colleges over four-year schools in order to transition youth into adulthood.

A Harvard University Graduate School of Education report concludes that rather than simply increase college enrollment, a comprehensive network of pathways to success must be created within the youth development field. In addition to encouraging initiatives away from the classroom, such as mentorship and internship programs, the report includes among the pathways associate degrees and vocational certificates offered at two-year schools as a major part of the package.

The authors identify a three-pronged approach:

  • School reform that embraces a broad variety of strategies to engage young people who may not be best suited to attend a four-year institution, including increased emphasis on career counseling during high school and higher quality career education beyond high school;
  • An increased role by business leaders at earlier stages in youth development, rather than providing jobs at graduation;
  • Creation of a social compact between young people and the rest of society – educators, employers and governments – with an exchange of expectations.

“Unless we are willing to provide more flexibility and choice in the last two years of high school, and more opportunities for students to pursue program options that link work and learning, we will continue to lose far too many young people along the path to graduation,” said Robert Schwartz, who headed up this report as academic dean and professor at Harvard’s Graduate School of Education.

This report informs Corporate Voices’ workforce readiness platform and three main areas of work: Ready by 21, Learn and Earn and alternative pathways for youth, the New Options Project.  Through this work, Corporate Voices creates bridges between public and private entities ensuring that all stakeholders are coming together to find solutions that span the education and talent development pipeline to make certain that young people succeed in school, on the job and throughout life and that the United States remains competitive in what is a complex and challenging global economy.