Out of School Time Strategies to Re-engage Students on Workforce Readiness in a Post-COVID World
Julie Lammers and Kaylee Johnson, American Student Assistance; Abbie Evans, MENTOR National; and Sage Learn, Boys & Girls Clubs of America
In the wake of COVID-19 and remote learning, students disengaged from school over the past year in record numbers: Research estimates there are now over
4.4 million young people (ages 16-24) neither working or in school. As youth service providers work to help students recover from their pandemic-interrupted schooling, they must employ new re-engagement strategies for the modern learner. Today’s students crave “real-world” experiences and want opportunities to apply learning and gain experience in careers before they graduate high school. This session will explore the critical role out-of-school time programs can play in preparing youth to succeed in the 21st century workforce. We will set the stage for our discussion with an overview of recent research into the mindset of
Generation Z around career-focused learning and employer attitudes toward internships for youth. Next, a moderated panel discussion featuring MENTOR and The Boys and Girls Clubs of America will showcase how afterschool programs are helping youth build essential employability skills, exposing them to careers, and offering work-based learning opportunities. We will close our discussion with a look at how American Rescue Plan federal funding can be used to reshape education to give students real-world preparation, as well as explore promising new legislation, the Youth Workforce Readiness Act, that could expand funding to support career exploration and development programs at out-of-school time organizations.