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Report: Build Back Better Could Help Prepare Youth for Employment


Thursday, October 21, 2021   

RICHMOND, Va. -- The pathway to a career has become more difficult for some in recent years, with many young people not landing the right job until their 30s.

To change this, a new report said the country needs to make better connections between education and work, and start much earlier in life.

The report, from the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce, said higher education costs, the collapse of the youth labor market, and racial and class inequality have all contributed to increased pressure on young people.

Tony Carnevale, research professor and director of the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce and the report's author, said support from the Build Back Better Act could help dismantle the silos between education and career, beginning in early childhood.

"What we know is that it really starts in preschool," Carnevale contended. "In America, if you're a disadvantaged child, you've got a 30% chance of making it to one of these good jobs by the time you're 32. Build Back Better invests in the K-12 education of disadvantaged students."

Build Back Better includes funding for child care and universal preschool, along with expanding resources for child nutrition. President Joe Biden has been meeting with Democrats this week in an attempt to save the massive social safety-net and climate-policy legislation.

Paula Buckley, director of outreach and public affairs for the Great Aspirations Scholarship Program (GRASP), a career and college nonprofit that helps students and families in Virginia apply for financial aid, said her program has also started visiting middle schools for college and career prep.

"There's such a need to start hearing things at a much, much younger age," Buckley asserted. "You just see how much it's important for them to hear things about college that they may not even realize or have ever heard, so that they can plan for it in their high school years."

The report suggested career counseling should begin as young as middle school and continue post-high school, to make more solid connections between education and the working world.

Support for this reporting was provided by Lumina Foundation.

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