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Report: From Preschool to College, Young People Need Streamlined Support


Thursday, October 21, 2021   

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- A new report from the Georgetown University Center for Education and the Workforce, found the nation's disjointed education system, with pre-K, college, and the workforce operating in "silos," is preventing some young people from getting degrees and transitioning into good jobs.

Penny Schwinn, Tennessee commissioner of education, pointed to recent survey results of high school teachers across the state, saying they need more college admissions and career education resources to help steer students in the right direction.

Schwinn added educators are having those conversations.

"We also saw 94% of high school teachers who indicated they were familiar with their students' post-secondary and careers goals," Schwinn reported.

The Georgetown report cited three recessions that have hit workers under age 40 hardest: the burst of the dot-com bubble, the Great Recession, and the COVID-19 recession. The report went on to point out public funding for education and job training has not kept up with the growing need for these services to help young people gain financial independence.

Schwinn also noted barriers to accessing technology during the pandemic made it more difficult for students trying to navigate college or career paths.

"We had more students at the high school level who were in a hybrid model, than we did in elementary and middle," Schwinn recounted.

Tony Carnevale, research professor and director of the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce and the report's author, said college is now the ticket to higher income and opportunity.

He emphasized just 20% of recent high school graduates who are working get good jobs.

"It's a longer journey, it has many more parts to it," Carnevale explained. "They are separated and siloed. We're seeing more and more recognition of that, especially with respect to the relationships between high school, college and careers."

The Build Back Better proposal includes tuition-free community college, and investments in programs that improve transfer pathways from community college to public four-year colleges and universities. It would also boost funding for apprenticeships and other community-based programs that help young people acquire work experience.

Support for this reporting was provided by Lumina Foundation.

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